🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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 spending a ton of time on long-term plans is about as useful as trying to teach a pig to talk.
In the place of plans, I tend to substitute a general direction I’d like to go. I’m well aware of the concept of SMART goals — specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, time-bound. It’s that T that I have a problem with. I’m really not all that willing to go out more than one revolution around the sun, and even then I’m always down for a midyear course correction.
I recently came up with the draft of a vision board. I’ve never done something like this before. Truthfully, I thought of it as the stuff of hippies. Of course, my life these days is more hippie-esque than not. And when I came home from work one evening recently and saw Wifey Poo had put up her own vision board on her closet door, well, I took that as a pass to make my own.
My vision board is bound by 2023. There are things I want to have in my life in the next sun-trip. There’s cigars. Whiskey. Tattoos. Financial growth. There are some new hobbies I’m hoping to own like a boss. Improv. Go-kart racing. There are things that are important parts of my mission to stay centered and sane. Family. Meditation. Healthy eating. Embracing the woo-woo. Music. Nature.
I plan on making my vision board the desktop background on my laptop, my work computer, my phone. Maybe I’ll have it printed out so I can hang it up, too. We’ll see what happens.
Yesterday morning, I went to Upshot Coffee in the quirky (and, if you ask me, somewhat spooky) town of Cottleville, Missourah, to meet with Boy The Elder’s friend who is going through a bad breakup and some brain illness issues. I wrote about the situation a few days ago.
I tend to avoid getting too into my kids’ lives. Mother Dearest infamously inserts herself (or tries to) in her children’s friends’ lives and often seems to think of them as her buddies, too. It’s off-putting, and I’m nothing if not a reaction to her style of parenting. So I assured BTE this wasn’t the case with his friend, that I merely saw someone whom I might be able to help.
We ended up talking for two hours. It was the first time I’d ever shared my own brain illness story verbally. My goals were simple:
- Point this friend toward mental health help and try to make the connection for him to my own super-mega-awesome counselor, Arti The Therapist;
- Ensure this friend is going to stick around as a living human being because he’s needed and loved.
Time will tell if either of those two things happen. So far so good on #2, and there was lots of progress toward #1. I am no one’s savior, I am not a mental health professional, and I made sure this person knew that just because something worked for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for him. I also made sure he knew the road to brain health improvement can be long and hard — but that it’s worth it.
The thing I kept coming back to in that conversation was this: What would 21-year-old John have liked to hear the most, needed to hear the most? Then, do that.
So that’s what I did.
I say this from a place of great humility and only as a recommendation for the few who might read this to look around their own worlds and to be that person to those in their orbits.
This is a story I share with great hesitancy. I have felt the bitter sting of discrimination for having a brain illness, discrimination no one experiences when they have a problem with a different, better understood organ — the heart, the lungs, the kidneys. I know what it’s like to have work colleagues ignore you…Keep reading
Speaking of orbits, my rapid descent down the rabbit hole of “Why the hell are we here … and where exactly is ‘here’ anyway?” reached terminal velocity yesterday evening when, completely sober, I watched a documentary attempting to answer the question: “If the universe was born from a singular point, what created that singular point?”
The question itself is very divisive in the big picture. Your religious folks will say “God” and then hit up the coffee bar in their mega church for a second double soy mocca crappachino. The scientific folks will spend an inordinate amount of time barfing up complicated concepts and mathematical formulae in an all-out attempt to avoid the “G” word like a rash at a public pool.
This documentary brought up a lot of interesting things. We accept that, as a scientific and rational principle, something can’t be created out of nothing. So for the universe to come into existence scientifically, there had to be a something. So what created that something? And if there was a something that was created, there had to be a something that existed to create it. So what caused that something?
It’s enough to make your head explode.
The most interesting theory put forward discussed the one hypothesized by Roger Penrose, a British physicist with the required physicist mop of unruly hair that makes you want to say, “Can I just buy you a brush or something?” With an advance begging-of-forgiveness to Sir Roger for butchering his theory, my understanding of what he was saying is that the universe was born out of the death of a previous universe.
A previous universe!?!?!? Holy crap! I’d never considered there was a previous something before this something. I fully accept the concept of the multiverse, and not just one inhabited by superheroes with dreamy eyes and bulging muscles. But previous universes?
Sir Roger says that, as universes expand, they cool. Eventually, there won’t be enough heat to keep things going and all things will dim into a cold nothingness. Hearing that, I felt like the depression character from Inside Out.
I mean, talk about bleak! Sir Roger says that, when all that happens, the universe will contract and black holes will gobble up all the stuff, which will create a white-hot point of singularity. Then, BANG! A new big bang and a new universe.
It’s an interesting theory that is far from universally accepted (See what I did there? Hahahahaha!). But it doesn’t really answer the question. Even if you accept this universe was born from the death of the previous one and that the previous one was born from the death of the one before that, you still eventually have to address the question: OK, who made the stuff for the first universe? If there wasn’t a dead universe for black holes to gobble up, what exactly was there that caused the original bang?
Scientists seem to go to awfully long lengths to avoid saying “God.” I mean, the documentary gets to the point where scientists acknowledge that, for what happened to have happened, stuff would have to exist that doesn’t follow known, observable rules of nature. So there’s this whole field called speculative physics, which seems very much like scholastically accepted fever dreams or acid trips. It’s gotta be cool to be in a situation where, when the rules say what you’re thinking can’t be, you can just say “Well, this exists outside the rules, so there!”
In the end, I was left feeling very anxious. Not sure why. It’d been an eventful day with big emotions, so that could have been it. Or it could have been that thinking about this stuff makes me realize how freaking small we are compared to all this stuff that’s out there and that there is so much stuff we don’t have a clue about that have enormous implications to who we are as a species and what our ultimate future is.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Gotta make my vision board stuff happen.
- No work until Tuesday!
- Mizzou basketball is actually fun to watch for a change.
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🧩 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Knicks Memory 🏀JBM LLC 🧑🏼💼Brain Drain 🧠 My most memorable interaction with Paul Silas occurred when I was a 17-year-old kid with big dreams of being a sports reporter. I’d talked with Paul before — his wife and Mother Dearest were active in the local Make A Wish Foundation chapter and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Piped-In Music 🎵Astronomy 🔭Fusion ☢️ Here’s the thing about Christmas: I want to love it, and in many ways, I do. I love giving gifts and, to be honest, I love getting gifts. There’s something so cool about the magical times when someone knows you well enough to get you that…Keep reading