Engaged — Nov. 14, 2022


🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
BTE and Div 💍
Brother Greetings 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦
Travel Day ✈️


The morning after Boy The Elder was born, I awoke in the hospital to his sweet cooing and his momma’s deep-sleep breathing. Scooping him up carefully and holding him nervously, I sat in a rocking chair in the pre-dawn darkness and talked to my son as we waited for the sun to rise.

I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember telling him how thankful I was that he was here safely, that I promised to try my best to be the best daddy he could possibly imagine. By the time Wifey Poo awoke, he and I pretty much had the world figured out.

Saturday, I watched from about 20 feet away as BTE got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend of three years for her hand in marriage. I’m not sure how dads are supposed to feel in a moment like that, but I was awash in this mishmash of emotions as I watched Div, an amazing girl who is very, very good for my son, accept his proposal.

BTE has every reason to not be too fond of me. He’s seen and heard a lot in his life as I’ve dealt with the various obstacles on my path. I wish I could say that I lived up to my promise to be the best daddy he could possibly have, but he knows and I know that I haven’t. Yet there we were Saturday, celebrating this amazing occasion as a family.

I don’t remember the specific day on which I realized BTE was headed toward dating Div, but I do remember the situation. I had fallen asleep on the couch and was hauling my still half-asleep butt upstairs and to an actual bed at about 2 a.m. when I heard BTE’s voice from his bedroom. He was still in high school, and it was now an early Saturday morning.

I paused on the stairway landing and listened, my interest piqued by the fact that I heard a female voice responding to whatever enlightening thing BTE had to say at 2 a.m. There wasn’t a thought in my mind that BTE had an actual girl up in his room, though perhaps — considering he’s my son — the idea should have at least crossed my mind. I just figured he was talking to one of the people he know from his job at Chick-fil-A or his internship at church.

The next morning, I asked him about it. “Oh, that was just Div.”

Just Div? No one talks to “Just” anyone at 2 a.m. Certainly not a member of the opposite sex.

The next night, the same thing happened. I fell asleep on the couch (bad habit. I’ve broken it) and hauled my still half-asleep butt up to bed, and the same two voices welcomed me to the new floor. The morning after that, I told Wifey Poo, “Our boy is on the way to having a girlfriend.”

About a month later, it became official. As I said, no one talks to “just” anyone at 2 a.m., and certainly no one talks to “just” anyone regularly at 2 a.m.

I am beyond blessed that BTE included me not only in the big moment Saturday but in the planning that led to that moment. It was only about two months ago that BTE called me from Mizzou to talk to me about engagement ring shopping. I knew this moment was coming. He’d been dropping hints that things were headed that direction for a few months.

And honestly? I was so touched by the fact that he was reaching out to me … me, his old man … for advice, I cried when I got off the phone. Yes, I know I do that a lot. That he still thinks highly enough of me to include me in such an important event is something I will forever count as one of the biggest blessings in my life.

Shortly after the engagement ring talk, BTE came home from Mizzou for a weekend. He and I had been kicking around ideas for his engagement surprise. He wanted to do something special, something memorable, and he told me he had mad respect for how I asked his momma to marry me.

On that day, I created a scavenger hunt all across Des Moines, leading soon-to-be Wifey Poo from place to place to locations of memories of our dating life. At each stop, there was another clue to send her to a new location. Finally, those clues led a friend of soon-to-be Wifey Poo’s to drive her blindfolded to parts unknown to her. There, she stood blindfolded while I drove up. When the blindfold was taken off, she realized she was at the Roseman Bridge in Winterset, Iowa, and that her boyfriend was walking toward her. I put down a handkerchief on the dusty ground, got down on one knee and told her that this type of certainty comes but once in a lifetime. We were married a year and a half later.

Back to last month. After kicking ideas around for a while, BTE and I drove down to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. We were hunting for the perfect spot there for him to ask Div for her hand in marriage. “Dad, you’re the creative one. Help me,” he said.

We walked around, looking for the perfect spot, and then we saw the lake. It was beautiful and perfect, ringed by a walking path.

BTE’s front for this whole thing was that his really good friend Guy, who is co-owner of a marketing company along with his sister and who is a great photographer, would be taking fall pictures of Div and BTE. The plan was made. BTE and Div would break off from Guy and his sister and take a stroll around the lake. At different points, there would be gifts with memories of their three-year relationship. It would end up at a nice, private place where Guy and his sister would be waiting to capture the official moment.

And so it was that Wifey Poo, Boy The Younger and I were a part of BTE’s big day Saturday. We were the advance team, making sure the final spot where he would ask for her hand in marriage was set up and beautiful and ensuring that the gifts and notes were in the right places at the right time so they’d be there for Div to discover.

In the summer of 2024, there is going to be a wedding in this family. The Core Four is going to become … something more. Div is an amazing girl and I already consider her my daughter. She and I have many similarities. We’re feelers, emotional and have our flighty moments. She and BTE are amazing for each other. I said early on in their relationship how much the two of them remind me of two other crazy kids who fell in love and ultimately got engaged young (Wifey Poo and I were early in our senior years in college) and married young (Wifey Poo and I were both 22). I cannot be happier to see that my son, the little baby boy whom I held on my lap that first morning of his life, has found his Person. That’s a rare thing. That’s a blessing. They both know it.

Who knows what the world has waiting for them? Wifey Poo and I would never have believed the challenges we’d face as a couple, and I’m quite sure BTE and Div are just as naive as we were. What I’m quite sure of, though, from having seen their relationship evolve, from watching how it’s grown, from witnessing how they survived separation through a pandemic and as BTE went off to Mizzou for a year while Div took advantage of free community college back home, is that there is much joy ahead of them. They are good together.

And I am blessed to have a part of their big day.


It preparation for Saturday’s big events, BTE arrived home Friday night. BTY was on the computer in another room. BTE and I hugged, talked and then BTE headed back toward the bathroom, past where BTY was seated.

BTE: “What’s up, Dummy?”

BTY: “What up, Stupid?”

The love these two boys have for each other makes me so, so happy. Only two brothers who truly love each other greet each other like this. BTE was a little unsure of what life would be like when Wifey Poo and I told him we were having another child. The day after BTY was born, some relatives brought BTE, then seven, to the hospital to meet this new creation.

He walked into the room apprehensively. Then he saw his baby brother, plentiful hair sticking up all over the place, snuggly wrapped like a baby burrito. BTE sat down, and we placed BTY in his lap.

And that was it. All resistance BTE might have felt faded away. There was this look that said, “Yeah, you and I might have some problems, but you are as much my responsibility as you are Mom and Dad’s, so I got you, bro. I got you.”

And he has. Capped off by literally saving his life once with the Heimlich Maneuver, BTE has been an amazing big brother to BTY.

Which leads to greetings like what I heard Friday night being something special, something that made me smile.


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,…

Keep reading

Sunday was a travel day. Wifey Poo dropped me off this morning at Terminal 2 of Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, where I grabbed a flight along with about a dozen work colleagues to Ft. Lauderdale for a Monday through Thursday conference.

It’s been a minute since I’ve flown. I think the last time I was on an airplane was April 2019, to Savannah, Ga. Some things haven’t changed. We’re still taking our shoes off and being generally crabby, it seems. We’re still cramming impossible numbers of people into flying metal tubes. We’re still doing the same “put your mask on yourself before helping your child” thing.

The flight was fine. Descending into Ft. Lauderdale, you realize exactly how Florida is basically constructed on a swamp. I have a presentation to give Thursday morning. It’s on digital marketing. Until then, I’ll be doing random marketing things to help other presenters, and I hope to get some chill time to just sit on the beach and smoke a cigar.


Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Who’s going to give my presentation Thursday if I’m dead?
  2. Gotta be there for BTE’s wedding.
  3. Chicken wings.

More From ‘A Puzzle Known As Life’

Netflix DVDs— Sept. 29, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩End of an Era 📀Tone Deaf 👂River Sharks🦈 Back in 1998, when Blockbuster was still the place to be on a Friday night, a small company shipped out a DVD of the 1988 comedy Beetlejuice, which brings us the second Michael Keaton reference in this space this week. Sometime today, that…

Keep reading

HBP — Sept. 28, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Knee Bonk ⚾Attention Attention 📱Car-B-Que 🚗🔥 In the bottom of the first inning of my baseball team’s game last night, Boy The Younger stepped to the plate. On a 1-2 count, he took a fastball directly to the knee and went down as if shot by a sniper. This is a…

Keep reading

Toilet Diving — Sept. 27, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Porta Plunge 🚽Gung Ho, Part II 🍜Mood Movies 🎞️ We have now reached the stage in societal regression in which “Police remind public not to climb in toilets” is an actual thing police have to remind the public about. Yes, you can blame this on the Michigan woman who climbed into…

Keep reading

News Fairy Dust — Sept. 26, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Biscuit Snub 🥖Easier Cheating 😲Biden Walks 🚶 Buckle up, y’all. The News Fairies have sprinkled us with a heaping pile of funny dust today, so let’s get started. The international food site TasteAtlas published its list of the best breads in the world, and Muricah has only one spot on the…

Keep reading

Penny For Your Thoughts — Sept. 22, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cost of Money 💸Google Oopsie 🚓Broke Ape 😢 I remember as a child being dropped off at The Deli in my hometown with a pocket full of change and big dreams. I’m sure the place had a name besides The Deli, but I have no clue what it was beyond just…

Keep reading

Influencer Spending — Sept. 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩I’m An Alien 👽Political Ads 💸Bumper Sticker😊 I have lied to my children from the day they were born. I’m not just talking about the typical Santa/Tooth Fairy bullshit. I’m talking about things like, well … for example … I had Boy The Elder convinced that I once was a QB…

Keep reading

Bear Invasion — Sept. 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Magic Bear Kingdom🐻Cash For Prisoners 💸Anti-Depression Tips 😊 A bear snuck into the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World yesterday, prompting the closure of numerous rides and attractions while Florida Fish & Wildlife officers looked for it. Seems to me that the first place to look would have been the Country…

Keep reading

Innocent in Prison — Sept. 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bail 💸Walk-off ⚾Under Pressure🧯 Most red-blooded Muricans who hear there’s a nation incarcerating hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians for lengthy periods of time without a trial or means to be free would say said nation should get a good hard dose of Murican democracy landing on its shores. Thankfully, it’ll…

Keep reading

Big Feelings — Sept. 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reaching Out 🤙Go Big, Texas 📕🔥🔥🔥JFK Theory🔫 I’ve had big feelings all my life. I didn’t know until I was in my early 40s that this and a bunch of other “big” things I thought everyone experienced were actually only part of the lives of very few. Welcome to the empath…

Keep reading

Swift and Stupid — Sept. 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dumb Newspapers 🗞️Dumb Politician 🗳️Dumb Soda Decision🥤 I was a newspaper man when it was stunningly common for leadership to do extremely stupid things. For example, I sat in meetings where our company’s higher-ups talked glowingly about the massive, multimillion dollar printing plant it was building at the exact same time…

Keep reading

Sad Songs — Sept. 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Minor Issue ♭Never Forget Bet 🤑Surge 🍺 Songs are sadder these days. At least, that’s according to an analysis of the Billboard Hot 100 list. Half are in a minor key — i.e. sad — up from roughly 30 percent at the turn of the 21st century and 15 percent from…

Keep reading

Thirsty AI — Sept. 11, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glug Glug Glug 🌊9/11 Farce 💣Men Behaving Badly🤦 I’m pretty sure artificial intelligence is going to spell the end of society as we know it. It just might not have been in the way I first thought. According to a study by researcher Shaolei Ren (not related to Kylo, to the…

Keep reading

Bitter Batteries — Sept. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Swallow That 🔋Hamster Ball🐹Judging Google🧑‍⚖️ Modern-day Muricah is set up for the lowest common denominator. We are a dumb nation full of morons who do dumb things, and because of that, capitalism responds with dumb products. Don’t believe me? I give you this: I get that kids will put just about…

Keep reading

Waschbärenproblem — Sept. 9, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drunk, Horny Raccoons 🦝Influencer B.S.🎙️Fall 🍁 Germany has a raccoon problem, and it’s all Hitler’s fault. This, I learned after seeing an article about how beer-drunk raccoons were killing pets, breaking into homes and generally being bastards in the Motherland. Which got me wondering: Why does Germany have raccoons? Turns out…

Keep reading

Lazy — Sept. 8, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Montenegroans 🛏️Cave Conundrum 🩸Urinal reading 🚽 For more than 20 days now, people in Montenegro, which I hear is a country, have been lying down and doing nothing. This is news. As of this writing, seven contestants remain in a competition to crown Montenegro’s Laziest Citizen. The grand prize is the…

Keep reading

Shit Happens — Sept. 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poop Problem 💩Airbnb Problem 🧑‍⚖️Oil Problem 🚙 I want to go to Spain. I want to eat tapas in Barcelona and talk with a lisp and have a grand vacation. But I don’t want it so bad that I would have wanted to be on a Delta flight that left Atlanta…

Keep reading

OnlyMoney— Sept. 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Bank💰Second Glance 👀Life 🎲 The owner of OnlyFans, Leonid Radvinsky, earned more than $338 million in dividends last year, according to a financial statement obtained by People. That’s more than $1.3 million per working day based on the 20% the site keeps from women, who, among other things, let users…

Keep reading

McBullshit — Sept. 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Cream Problem🍦GOP Clarence🧑🏿‍⚖️Corn 🌽 At one point yesterday, more than 12% of all the ice-cream machines in McDonald’s were reported broken. I know that because the interwebs are amazing. So infamous are these machines for not doing the only thing they are here to do that some brilliant soul made…

Keep reading

Bump, Set, Spike — Aug. 31, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Nebraska Volleyball 🏐Zombie Mitch 🧟Opening Day L ⚾ My first beat as a freshman college sports reporter for Drake University’s newspaper, The Times-Delphic, was the women’s volleyball team. The largest crowd I ever saw at one of their games was around 11. Last night, the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers set a…

Keep reading

AI Sportswriters — Aug. 30, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Newspapers Suck 📰Tomato Chuckin’ 🍅Sad Anniversary 😔 Dignity was hard to come by in the newspaper industry back when I left it in 2009, and it hasn’t gotten any better. Sportswriters in the Evil Empire Gannett chain had to endure watching artificial intelligence attempt to cover an Ohio high school football…

Keep reading

Coffee Concrete — Aug. 27, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grounds for Strength ☕Improved Eyesight 🤓No Phones 📴 Based on my own actions, I am not an environmentalist. This isn’t to suggest I don’t care about the environment. I do. But that doesn’t mean I go out of my way to recycle or channel my inner Greta Thunberg when making daily…

Keep reading

Funk, Bray, ‘Taker — Aug. 26, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Deadman Speaks 🪦NCAA Sucks 🏈Safe Cities 🏢 I became aware of professional wrestling shortly after Wrestlemania I, which took place in March 1985. My parentals smartened me up immediately, letting me know the spike Road Warrior Animal was driving into Dusty Rhodes’ eye was not, in fact, being done out…

Keep reading

Sick Day — Aug. 24, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Why You’re Off 😷Meat 🍖Bad Flight ✈️🔥 “Sorry, boss. Can’t make it in *coughcough* today. I’m *sneezebarfsound* sick.” Today is Aug. 24, the most popular day of the year for employees to call out sick, according to a survey by PTO management software company Flamingo. At first, I couldn’t figure out…

Keep reading

Car Troubles — Aug. 22, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Auto Prices🚗Heat Ball ☀️⚾Country Music 🪕 We are stupid country inhabited by stupid people. This, I have believed for a long time, and data continues to prove me right. A year or so ago, I wrote about the Seven Steps to the Dawn of Dystopia. In that, I laid out a…

Keep reading

Pig Kidney — Aug. 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oink🐖Jaws 2X 🦈🦈Practice Dinger ⚾ A pig kidney implanted into a human is still working after a month. In a big step toward using animals to help ease the shortage of donated organs, the surgical team at NYU Langone that transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead man (with his…

Keep reading

Doctor Day — Aug. 16, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dr. Spezia✋Hawk-Snake-Woman 🦅🐍👩Opening Lines 📣 Today I get to go to the Advanced Bone & Joint office in St. Peters to have my increasingly numb left hand examined. Side note before we continue: St. Peters is the most Missourah of Missourah town names. If it’s more than out Saint Peters, it…

Keep reading

Hello, COVID — Aug. 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩COVID 🖕Vroom 🏎️Gong 🤌 Wifey Poo awoke yesterday morning and had a stuffy nose and scratchy throat. We went about our days, me going to my job and her doing a variety of shuttling for children. When we met back up at our home, she still had a stuffy nose and…

Keep reading

Spreadsheets — Aug. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fuck Excel 🖕Toilet Talk 🚽Baseball = Life ⚾ I was around 8-years-old when my father taught me the precursor to Microsoft Excel. It was a database program called Lotus 1-2-3 in which you could enter information into cells with formulas to speed results. Then, he was showing me how to create…

Keep reading

Jesus Christ, That Hurts! — Aug. 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’I’m a Christian’⛪Numb Fingers ✌️Nuclear Propaganda 💣 Here’s something of a trend I’ve noticed: The more someone professes their adherence to Christianity in non-spiritual settings, the more likely you are to have to dig their knife out of your back. Currently wiggling one free from a “Christian” baseball coach whose actions…

Keep reading

Pool Poop — Aug. 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo Birthday🎂Indictment Punch Card 🦹🏼Trade Deadline ⚾ Not gonna lie to you folks: Coming back to this whole writing-personal-stuff thing feels a little bit like getting back in the pool on a hot summer day after it had been cleared because the weird kid shit in it and they needed…

Keep reading

Hello Again — Aug. 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Return to Writing ✍️Fuck Work 🖕Ghostly 👻 I’m back! “Wait. You were gone?” Yes, I was gone! Dumbass. Didn’t you read my awesome “Goodbye” post from mid-June? “Um, no.” Well that was part of the point! No one reads this shit. So why write it? “Quick question then?” Sure. Fire away.…

Keep reading

Goodbye — June 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Farewell When I started this section of my website, where I’d write a whole bunch of creative and also personal things, I was a very different person than I am today. In so, so many ways, I was a shattered human being. I’d just gone through an extremely challenging time in…

Keep reading

The Moment — June 11, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heavy Weight 🏋️Saving Seats 💔Five Stories 🖊️ There’s this one Moment every morning in which everything comes back. Maybe you have a Moment too. Sometimes, that distance between the return of consciousness and the Moment is minutes or, in extremely rare cases, hours. More often than not, the Moment comes within…

Keep reading

Not Writing — June 9, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drained Energy 🪫Saving Seats 💺Right Again ✅ Honestly, I don’t feel like writing. To anyone who reads my stuff regularly on here, and I really don’t think there’s more than one or two of you, you might be aware that I haven’t felt like writing for much of the past month.…

Keep reading

Safe at First — May 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Leg Pain 😧Graduation 🎓Orca Attacks ⛵ There was a precise moment on Saturday as I was moving this broken down, underused, untended nearly 49-year-old body down the first base line of a baseball field at McNair Park in St. Charles, Missourah, that I realized I was in trouble. I was lookin’…

Keep reading

Whiskey and Cigars — May 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Porch Talk 🥃Jacket and Tie 👔Strep 🤒 I find great comfort and relaxation in sipping a glass of good bourbon or whiskey while smoking an equally good cigar. Add a beautiful night, a screened-in porch and some good company who wants to be there, and I’m in heaven. Tuesday evening, that…

Keep reading

Religious Exodus — May 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jesus Wept 😥Good Mom, Bad Mom 👩Baseball Success ⚾ In 1990, just 7 percent of Muricans considered themselves non-religious. Today, that number has quadrupled. Depending on whom you ask, this is either a sign of our descent into earthly hell or a great awakening to the sins of the institution most…

Keep reading

Slog — May 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Life Right Now 😥Classmate’s Death 😥TUP 😠 I long ago lost any semblance of the notion that life could be easy. To the best of my recollection, this shattering of innocence occurred for good somewhere in the third grade, when I was dealt my first really shitty teacher (I imagine Mrs.…

Keep reading

Sad vs. Depressed — May 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Scratchy Sweater 😥Birthday Boy 🎂Fucking Facebook 😠 I think there’s a big difference between being depressed and being sad. And I think I’m qualified to talk about that difference because I’ve been both. Some say that depression is sadness that lasts, which I think discounts the true power of sadness. True…

Keep reading

Porn — May 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One in Two? ✌️Isolation 😥Really, HR? 😠 OK ladies, look to your left. Now look to your right. If you’re flanked by two men, one of them likely has been on Pornhub today. I used math today to figure that out. (Proud of me, aren’t ya, Wifey Poo?) I read a…

Keep reading

Iowa Visit — May 2, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Relays Weekend 🏃‍♀️Janelle 🤗No Steve 😥 Want to experience something trippy without the benefit of hallucinogens? Return to the place you met your spouse more than 30 years ago with your 20-year-old and 13-year-old sons. The Core Four took a long weekend minus My Favorite African, who was wonderfully cared for…

Keep reading

Listening Right — April 25, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drive to Work 🚗Drive to Home 🚗Broken System 💔 I was thinking a lot on the drive to work this morning, which isn’t necessarily anything new. I think a lot, well, a lot. Long drives are usually prime time for me to tap into my intuition and listen to what’s being…

Keep reading

Baseball Bookend — April 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sweet Single ⚾Car Delivery 🚗Back/Neck Fixers💆‍♂️ On the one-year anniversary of that time a jackass piece of crap Little League “coach” did the most un-adultlike thing I have ever seen, Boy The Younger took the field for his new team in the spring’s first tournament. He batted second and started at…

Keep reading

3:32 a.m. Thoughts — April 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Garbage Can 🗑️Food Insecurity 🍲Poop Smell 💩 The level of significance of a particular task varies based on the time of day. This is something I realized this morning when I hauled my ass out of bed at 5:09 a.m. because of a thought that popped into my brain at 3:32…

Keep reading

Living — April 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alive vs. Living 😔Dental Thoughts 🦷Pronouns 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 I am 48 years old, and I realized something today: I have no idea how to live life. This isn’t to suggest I don’t know how to stay alive. I’m OK at that. But the finer points of relationships and communication and working my…

Keep reading

Team Thanos — April 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Awww, Snap 😏Office Flood 🌊Potty Mouth 🚽 Boy The Younger is like his old man in a lot of ways. One is that, if we experience something cool, we have a pathological need to have others experience its awesomeness as well. It wounds my soul when I share my music or…

Keep reading

Falling Down — April 17, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fuck Carvana 🚗Stupid Tooth 🦷Cave Woman 😠 I am a huge fan of the 1993 movie Falling Down. The movie stars Michael Douglas. Interesting side note: I once umpired a Little League baseball game for his son and called him out on strikes, which led to a crying temper tantrum. His,…

Keep reading

Toxic Positivity — April 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stop Being So (Fake) Happy 😊The Better Choice ✔️Checkmate, Motherfucker ♛ I’m not exactly what anyone would call an optimist. Perhaps it’s because I see the world too clearly these days to think that we’re headed anywhere close to the right direction. Some would call me a pessimist, and I’m OK…

Keep reading

Nickname Need — April 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Brown Stockings ⚾I’m A Dentist 🦷Quick Hitters 🐅🦎 If all had gone according to plan, I’d be well into retirement and diving into my money Scrooge McDuck-style after a success career pitching for the New York Yankees. Alas, I’m sitting at my desk in Maryland Heights, Missourah, munching on carrot sticks…

Keep reading

Dental Malpractice — April 5, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Crowned 👑MFA Moment 😥AI Danger 💻 I remember as a kid getting a filling and hearing that it was real silver being put in my mouth. I figured if times ever really got tough, I could just yank out my tooth, melt the filling and buy food. Yes, these were thoughts…

Keep reading

Not Snot — April 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Nose Woes 👃African in School 🚌Trumpster Fire 👮 The human body has a way of keeping us humble, especially as we get older. We lose hair where we want it and grow it in abundance where we don’t, we produce ear wax and eye boogers, and 99% of us should never…

Keep reading

WTF is a Tiguan? — April 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tiger-Iguana 🐅🦎Cornhole Crushing 🌽Poison M&Ms ☠️ The first time I saw a commercial for the Volkswagen Tiguan, I thought it was a parody. As a marketing guy, I couldn’t fathom how an entire department of highly paid professionals could sit down at a table and decide the best name for a…

Keep reading

The Difficult Thing — April 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Closing the Door 🚪Car Shopping🚙Fake Kid-Hater 🧒 Over the course of my life, I’ve gotten used to doing the difficult thing. This often hasn’t been by choice, and it’s never been easy. It’s simply what I’ve had to do. Whether it was facing a pregnancy in which we knew our child…

Keep reading

African Arrival — March 31, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Changes and Similarities ✈️Family Drama Update 🎭Close Encounters 🤼‍♂️ My Favorite African (MFA) has arrived. His plane landed at Lambert International at around 1:15 yesterday, and about 15 minutes later, a kind TSA person allowed us and the woman who accompanied MFA on the flight to violate all sorts of Homeland…

Keep reading

African Eve — March 29, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little D Nears ✈️Familiar Familial Drama 🎭Van O’ Canadians 🍁 My favorite African returns to us tomorrow afternoon. Dieudonne will board a plane from Philly with an escort (not THAT kind … I think, anyway), and land in the STL around 1:15. For the next three or four months, we’ll take…

Keep reading

Tech Hatred — March 24, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩TikTok Stupidity 😠Back Woes 😧Improv Friends 🎭 There are increasing number of hours each week in which I have a strong desire to throw every piece of connected technology into the nearest lake and move to wherever I have to go to be as far away from any modern gadget as…

Keep reading

Exit Ramp — March 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Anniversary Changes 💍Near Death Experience 💀Dreamcatcher Drama 😳 All relationships change over time. Friendships, parent-child, boss-employee, husband-wife … no matter the relationship, the only constant thing is change. My marriage has changed mightily since it began. When Wifey Poo and I said our vows on March 22, 1997, we were –…

Keep reading

Blah — March 22, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Why The Blahs? 😷Anniversary Plans 💍Unpleasant Warnings 🐍 Feeling blah is complicated when you have my medical history. For many people, feeling blah as I’m feeling right now is a clear indication that some sort of illness or infection has invaded the body. But for me — and for many others…

Keep reading

Floss Shaming — March 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dentist Visit 🦷Basketball Sucks 🏀Found Husband 👨 No one truly likes going to the dentist. I’ve had people push back on me when I’ve said this before, but when I lay out the following scenario, well, it’s pretty much checkmate: “You just had the most well-respected doctor in the world tell…

Keep reading

The Lunchable Deal — March 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dumb Gubment 🦅Dawg Party 🐶Flying African ✈️ We as modern Muricans tend to just accept that it’s the gubment’s job to educate our children. Of course, when other countries that aren’t our friends do that, we call it “indoctrination,” but that’s a topic for another day. The topic for today is…

Keep reading

Death Cometh — March 17, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Costly Mortality ☠️Crazies, Unite 🤪Defining ‘Appointment’ 🦷 I’m getting ready to die. Sounds ominous, right? Dramatic? Scary? It’s not. Oh yes, in a certain light, it’s depressing as hell. But what it really involved was a meeting with an attorney that Wifey Poo and I had yesterday to figure out exactly…

Keep reading

Finishing — March 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Books and Stories 📚SVB Lessons 🏦Basketball Party 🏀 Holy crap, you guys! I actually finished something I wrote! In fact, I finished two somethings I wrote! As my regular readers (hey you three!) know, I’ve been stunk in a funk of starting to write books and short stories with gusto and…

Keep reading

Sorry, Please Continue — March 9, 2023

🧩 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

Peaking — March 8, 2023

🧩 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

The Return of the African— March 6, 2023

🧩 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

Tribe — March 3, 2023

🧩 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

Mindful Commute — March 2, 2023

🧩 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

After Life — March 1, 2023

🧩 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

Angry Marketing Guy— Feb. 28, 2023

🧩 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

Corruption, Penis Sizes and Bird Drones — Feb. 23, 2023

🧩 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

Home of the Hypocrite — Feb. 21, 2023

🧩 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

Wal-Mart — Feb. 20, 2023

🧩 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

Shit People — Feb. 17, 2023

🧩 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

Brain Rest — Feb. 13, 2023

🧩 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

Drugs — Feb. 10, 2023

🧩 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

Missourah and the Spy Balloon — Feb. 7, 2023

🧩 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

Pokey Joe — Feb. 2, 2023

🧩 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

Stuck Balls — Feb. 1, 2023

🧩 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

‘Fuck Tha Police’ — Jan. 28, 2023

🧩 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

Snow — Jan. 25, 2023

🧩 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

STUPID Goals — Jan. 20, 2023

🧩 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

Writing Retreat — Jan. 15, 2023

🧩 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

Ceilings — Jan. 14, 2023

🧩 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

Movie Ambush — Jan. 13, 2023

🧩 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

Animal Updates — Jan. 12, 2023

🧩 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

Bad Boys— Jan. 11, 2023

🧩 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

Done — Jan. 10, 2023

🧩 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

Media Landscape — Jan. 6, 2023

🧩 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

Santos Kills Puppy — Jan. 5, 2023

🧩 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

Institutions — Jan. 4, 2023

🧩 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

Finishing — Jan. 2, 2023

🧩 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

Fifty Intentions for 2023

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 johnagliata@gmail.com. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…

Keep reading

Vision Board — Dec. 30, 2022

🧩 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

The Point of Suffering — Dec. 27, 2022

🧩 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

Freezing Fans — Dec. 26, 2022

🧩 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

Jacob at 22 — Dec. 20, 2022

🧩 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

Joe(y) the Comedian — Dec. 18, 2022

🧩 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

Doughnut Guy — Dec. 17, 2022

🧩 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

James and Stinky — Dec. 15, 2022

🧩 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

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: