🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Bruising Basketball 🏀
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 Bill Laimbeer or Charles Oakley any day.
I spent four years or so as Boy The Younger’s basketball coach. Never did my teams have tremendous talent. What we had was size … big, beefy size. When I looked at some of the kids at our first practice, I thought we’d be able to dump the ball into the post and score routinely, that we’d own the boards.
My big men might have been big, but they were passive. They’d sooner apologize for reaching over you to grab a rebound than use their size to slam their way into a position to snag the board.
That had to change.
So I changed it. I started with a kid named Caden who came to hoops practice from football practice, where he was on the offensive and defensive lines. Caden was a big boy. He also was naturally a sweet kid. One practice, I focused on encouraging him to use his size a little bit more. Caden took that as license to assault anyone who tried to drive the lane on him.
I dialed him back a little bit and then we were good. But if we needed a rebound or a defensive stop late in a game, I knew I could turn to Caden and say, “Kid, go do your thing.” He’d smile and cheerfully run back out on the court, where he’d then guard his section of our zone as if any entrance into it by a ball-wielding opponent was a personal affront to everything he considered holy.
By the time I stopped coaching, my team still wasn’t the most talented out there, but they were definitely the most physical. Opponents quickly learned that if they drove the lane, there was going to be contact and it wasn’t going to be a pleasant trip. My philosophy was that kids at that age couldn’t regularly hit the outside shot, so we packed the paint and dared them to start chucking. Sometimes we lost, but we never were out-toughed.
BTY has moved on to other, more experienced, better coaches now. The team he is on this year is a developmental team, which translates to “needs improvement.” They lost their first game by 50 when their opponent sprung a full-court press they couldn’t handle. The two games since then haven’t been quite as bad, but that haven’t been good either.
When I was coach, BTY was the scrappy defensive pest who did all the little things that don’t get the glory. He boxes out like someone much taller and stronger (BTY is a string bean). He sets vicious screens that have blindsided several players and left one in tears. (That’s my boy!) He’s Dennis Rodman without the sordid past, nose rings or multicolored hair.
Early in the season, it became apparent quite quickly there was an absence of on-court leadership on this team. So I challenged BTY to step up and be that leader. This isn’t something he does naturally, but it’s something I know he has in him.
Last night, I saw that on full display. BTY has evolved extremely quickly into a good leader. He was leading not only through his words to other people but by example in his own play. He played tough. He played aggressively. He hustled his butt off after turning the ball over and stopped an opponent from an easy layup with a Bad Boys-esque foul in which he blocked the shot but got a whole lotta body in the process. That kid then missed both free throws.
Yes, he played hard, and as the game went on, I noticed something — his team was following suit. He no longer was the only one boxing out with aggression. He no longer was the only one setting body-crunching screens. Every single kid was playing hard.
This team won’t win many games. They might not win any games. But they are becoming a true team. That they are starting to resemble the teams I most looked up to as a kid? That’s just a bonus.
And then there’s this thing that I love about BTY. I respect the fact he’s coached by someone else now. I do not interfere with that coach’s instructions, just as all of the parents of the players I coached stayed in their lane. That said, it’s extremely rewarding as a dad to see my boy do one of the things I taught him while I was his coach and then look over to me to see if his old man caught it.
I did, kid. I did.
Back about 15 years or so ago, I noticed this bump in the middle of my back along my spine. Nothing big. Maybe the size of a nickel. When it started to become a little painful to the touch, I eventually asked a doctor about it. Turns out it was a cyst. Nothing dangerous, but a doctor carved it out of me, put a stitch or two in and sent me home.
… Where, Wifey Poo promptly found the exact spot to poke me with a pen as we were joking around. She says it was accidental. I choose to believe her because the alternative is that she’s sadistic. Whatever it was, it most definitely was great aim on her part. As I said, that spot was maybe the size of a nickel, and I was wearing a shirt at the time. To hit the incision as precisely as she did is astounding.
Yesterday, Wifey Poo had a similar type of thing removed from her back. Her incision is much larger than mine, as the thing she grew on her left shoulder blade area was far more impressive. Kudos to you, honey, for a job well done. As for me? Resisting the urge for payback is crippling. Can I hold on until the wound is healed? Time will tell.
What follows is an excerpt of the sermon delivered by Pastor Q.F. Conseco of the No-Dick Church on July 3, 2022, from his home outside Escandido, California. Good morning and welcome to the first-ever meeting of the newly created No-Dick Church of Hellhole Canyon, California. Verily, I welcome you and hope you are enjoying our…Keep reading
We do realize that a 6-year-old brought a gun into a classroom and purposefully shot a teacher with it … and it’s barely a blip in the national consciousness, right? I mean, it’s not absent from the media, but it’s certainly not as big as it would have been five or 10 years ago. We’ve become so numb to in-school gun violence that we’re thinking, “Well, at least it was only one teacher and she didn’t die” without really pausing to reflect on “SIX!?!?”
What exactly do you do with a 6-year-old who shoots a teacher in school? What would you do had that 6-year-old killed her? Killed a student? Killed multiple students? Because, folks, it’s gonna happen. Maybe it won’t be a 6-year-old, but are the answers any more clear if that child is 8? How about 10?
What does it say about our supposedly great society that these are the questions we really need to be asking right now?
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Four day weekend for me coming up!
- Metallica, November 2023!
- Indy 500, May 2023!
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🧩 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
🧩 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
🧩 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
🧩 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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Podcast Appearance 🎙️The Birth Control Pill Story 🐶Good Tired 🥱 If you would have asked me a few years ago whether I could ever envision myself on a stage in the back room of a dive bar sharing a story about how my dog ate six months of birth control pills…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pee Mate 🚽Game Maker 🎲Dumb Muricans 🦅 I have been thinking about death a lot lately, not because I’m particularly eager for it to happen or because I’m particularly not eager for it to happen. I guess it’s because I’m a few months shy of my 49th birthday and please-for-the-love-of-God let…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dieudonne 🌍Hoops Win🏀Cornhole Roll ✔️ In 2021, during some of the darkest and most difficult times in our lives as individuals and couple, Wifey Poo and I did a thing. It was a big thing. It was a challenging thing. It was an amazing thing. But to say it was just…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Full Stop’ 🛑Needles 💉Business Lessons 🧑💼 Here’s something I learned about myself today: One way to ensure that I will debate you on a topic until I give my last breath or until you are huddled in a corner in a fetal position is to end the statement of your opinion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mindfulness 🧘Mullet Prez 👩🦳Murder Family 🔪 Our brains are amazing things. So adept are they at routines that they can essentially run on autopilot and let you do the everyday stuff like operating a multi-ton object advancing at 70+ mph among lots of other multi-top objects advancing at 70+ mph without…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bloody Hell 💂Circus Moments 🤡Silence 🤫 OK, people: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. But first, a little digression. What in the bloody hell does that phrase mean? “A bone to pick with you?” That sounds absolutely disgusting. And if you’re wondering why I said “bloody hell,” well, that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩24 Hour Video 😡Rubik’s Kid 🧊Dilbert Doofus 🤪 There are two things I cannot stand in the working world — and in life, in general. The first is people whose lack of preparedness turns ordinary stuff into emergencies. The second is when people criticize the result of something they previous approved.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mormon Billionaires 💰Bigger Packages 🍌Birds Really Aren’t Real 🐦 Can we just get on with blowing the tits off the world with nuclear weapons or something and end this stupid thing we call the human race? Yeah, I know that’s a little dramatic, but when I take a look at the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Muricah The Evil 🦅You Buy You 💰Big-Ass Van 🚚 I find it rather humorous that Muricah warned China not to send arms to one side of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine … and that we issued this warning with a straight face. I’m quite sure most Muricahns believe their country…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Salve 🩹Car Wash 🚗💧Light Removal 🎄 I try not to venture too often into a Wal-Mart, especially on the weekend. I cling to slim hope for this nation as it is, and I find Wal-Mart trips do not help my grip. Alas, this weekend, Boy The Younger was under the weather…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CC, BCC, FU 📧Basketball Poll 🏀Andy Rooney 🎙️ This week has largely been a Shit Week marred by Shit People. What are Shit People? They aren’t exactly easy to define, but one hallmark of a Shit Person is his rampant use of the CC function at work to passive-aggressively play power…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chill Day 🛋️Busy Weekend ⚾Halftime 🏈 I’m not working today. Not only am I not working at my day job, I’m not doing any work for my side gig today. I’m not planning on doing much of anything, actually. And I don’t feel guilty about that. This weekend was insanely busy.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Pharma Sucks 💊Work Rules 🧑💼Big Weekend 🏈 Spend any time in front of the television and you’ll see ads touting the latest drugs that you shouldn’t take if you’re allergic to and that you most definitely need to ask your doctor about. Now comes a study showing that the people…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top 5 🎈Symphony 🎻Living Eulogies 💗 Top 5 things overheard in Missourah last week as a purported Chinese spy balloon made its way over the state en route to its rendezvous with an F22’s missile: Despite my high-brow upbringing in Suburbia, New York, I’m not what anyone would call A Symphony…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Space Walk 🧑🚀Bye-Bye Brady 🏈Failure Rate 🐿️ When Boy The Elder was just Boy and devoid of a younger brother, we had a nickname for him: Pokey Joe. BTE didn’t do anything fast, but more than anything, what he did incredibly slow was get out of a car. That would suck…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Raccoons 🦝February 💘Man Nips 🕺 Today I bring you the story of a raccoon who got his balls stuck to railroad tracks. But the reason you think I’m bringing you this story is not the reason I’m bringing you this story. You think I’m bringing the story of the raccoon Neil…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tyre Nichols 😔Tattoo Day ✒️Nephew Hoops🏀 I was a white kid in suburbia, New York, in 1988 when the gangsta rap group N.W.A. came out with its album Straight Outta Compton, featuring the song Fuck Tha Police. It was scandalous, at the time, to suggest that the police would be anything…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Concert 🎵Sick Wife🤒People Suck 🖕 Within the 24 hours in the run-up to Snowpocalypse 2023, the estimates on the Weather Channel app for our snowfall total ranged from 1 to 10 inches. That’s like going to the doctor and being told you have anything from a splinter to terminal cancer.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mission: Failed 👎Ho 🤣Handy Family 👍 It has to suck to work at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Why? It took exactly 75 minutes for all of 2023 to be a failure. Let me explain. Those of you unfortunate enough to have been involved in any sort of corporate planning process…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Houston 🖊️Sad clown 🤡Taco Seasoning 🌮 Houston, Missourah, is not unlike a lot of other rural Missourah towns through which I’ve driven and bears a resemblance to the Small Town USA in which Boy The Elder did a lot of his early growing up and to which Boy The Younger came…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Definitions 📖Missing Bourbon 🥃Mysterious Knocks 😵 I generally abhor any writing that starts with, “Webster’s dictionary defines …” Webster’s dictionary defines “ceiling” as a noun meaning “the overhead inside lining of a room.” The implication is that it’s a limitation, a max, a point of demarcation between what’s out there and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Annoyance 😠Disappointment 😞 When Boy The Elder was Boy The Only in our home, he watched one of the Air Bud movies featuring a basketball-playing dog. Or maybe it was football. Or soccer. By the time that series was over, that dog had played them all. Anyway, whichever Air Bud…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thor’s Blurry Hammer 🍆Pigeon Delivery 🕊️Idiot List 🤪 Thor is really, really good with his hammer. And by that, I mean that Thor the walrus in Scarborough, England, is really good at masturbating and ruining New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard about this story, stop reading stupid news like politics…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What There is Like! ⛅’Modern Policing’ 🚨Xylophone Time! 🎵 When you decide to talk about a time in which you truly believe you more-or-less died and saw what comes after this life, you have to be comfortable with the fact that people might think you’re nuts. Hell, talking about it on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grace Ashford! 📰Idaholy Shit! 🥔Story of the Year! 🍆 The three most influential people in my life as a journalist are, sadly, all part of the Great Newsroom in the Sky now. Professors Michael Perkins and Bob Woodward (AKA Bob Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward) helped educate me at Drake University, and Lisa Warren was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poor Puppy 🐶Romeo and Juliet 🤴👸Meta Mistake 🙊 Disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., today as Republican Congressman-elect George Santos (if that’s his real name) brought a 6-month-old puppy to the house floor and screamed “Hey, look at me!” before slitting its throat and lapping up its squirting blood like a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Pretty Good Rant 😠Tesla Plunge 🚗Missed Lasts 😥 Those of you who regularly read my drivel (I see you, DirtySciFiBuddah) might have become aware of the fact over the past year or so that I am not a huge fan of our world’s modern institutions. All of them might, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Incomplete 🕮Frustration 😠Bowl Bust 🏈 To say that I know how to write is like saying I know how to breathe. No one considers that they know how to breathe. They just … breathe. No one is particularly good at breathing or bad at breathing. Again, they just … breathe. I’ve…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 15 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to email@example.com. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩2023 📅Helping 🧠The Universe 🔭 I’m not much for long-term plans and goals. This isn’t to suggest I don’t think they’re important. I just think that spending a lot of time on them is futile. What’s the saying? Man plans, God laughs. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve learned through experience that…Keep reading