🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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 I had as a child. Don’t judge me.
When I went to the dentist a few weeks back for a cleaning, the hygienist did her thing, reprimanded me about my flossing habits (or lack thereof) and then went to get the dentist to check out my teeth. This is always an awkward moment, as I feel like it’s the dentist checking up on the hygienist work and if she did a shitty job the floor is going to open up and send her down to the waiting rancor or something. (Star Wars geek reference. If you know, you know.)
Most of the time, this is just a cursory in-and-out of my face and the dentist comments on how wonderful my mouth is before sending me on my way. This time, she asked the hygienist about a fracture in my tooth.
Wait, what? The hygienist hadn’t mentioned any fracture in my tooth while she was cleaning them.
Here’s what I learned:
Way back when I was getting those potentially life-saving silver fillings, I was the victim of dental malpractice. It seems as if dentists have learned in the intervening years between filling and today that silver can expand and cause a tooth to crack. This should have been something they researched a little better back then, no?
So at 7 a.m. this morning I found myself reclined in a dentist’s chair getting a shot in my face to numb my tooth area so they could drill out the old filling and fit me for a crown. This is not the way sane people want to start their day.
Here I sit, two hours later, my face numb and still smelling that smoke smell that came from my mouth when the dentist started drilling my tooth. After an hour or so of tinkering with the assistance of an impossibly young woman named McKenna, they put a temporary crown on and made me agree to come back in two weeks at an equally ungodly hour to get the permanent one put on.
And then they charged me more than $600 for this luxury!
Shouldn’t they be paying me for their brethren’s long-ago error in putting something in my mouth to fix a tooth that actually broke the tooth? What about a cool couple million for my pain and suffering?
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here.
I poignant moment in Round 2 of caring for My Favorite African occurred last night. He and I were driving to the facility to pick up Boy The Younger from baseball practice, and MFA was extremely talkative. He was telling me about friends from back home, though the last time he visited, he used the same names to describe his brothers. He’s very inventive, as we don’t think he has any brothers, so what he tells us could just be part of his fanciful imagination.
At one point, he was telling me about school and said that in Burkina Faso the school in his area has two teachers … “a boy teacher and a girl teacher.” I asked him if he went to school in Burkina.
“No,” he said. “I no go. But I go when I fixed and I walk.”
That, my friends, tore my heart out. We sometimes take for granted the benefits we have here for those with mobility issues and other impairments. The Americans With Disabilities Act is a really, really good thing.
There’s no Burkinabe With Disabilities Act.
When Wifey Poo and I were researching becoming host parents, I talked with a woman who provided care for a child from Haiti. There, the situation for kids with disabilities is much worse than Burkina. This child, who was unable to walk similar to MFA, stayed in an orphanage, not because she had no parents. Rather, it was because the orphanage was inside a walled compound. And why was that important? Because kids with disabilities like that child are often thought to be demon afflicted and sought by religious zealots for exorcisms that are really just sanctioned murder.
This child’s parents visited her daily, but when night fell, it was safer for her to be behind the walls of the orphanage than in her own home.
In Burkina, I don’t know of such practices. But I do know that MFA, without the medical treatment he is receiving here, would have a pretty bleak future. The likely outcome for him would have been begging on the street, and that would have been shame. He’s smart, charismatic and has so much to offer the world.
He just needs a chance.
And here in Muricah? We’re split over a stupid moron ex-president who (allegedly) covered up paying a porn star hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep her quiet about having a really disgusting affair. Lovely.
Dieudonne became a part of our household amidst chaos, grief and weariness. Objectively speaking, it wasn’t a good time for us to welcome a 4-year-old with medical issues who didn’t speak a word of English. Of course, waiting for a “good time” to tackle that challenge is much like saying, “We’ll have kids when we’re…Keep reading
I wrote a blog for one of my clients with Johnny Boy Marketing about the role artificial intelligence is having and will have in the life of a human resources professional. Yes, it is not lost on me that I am willing to concede in these columns that human resources professionals are, indeed, alive, and not just some soulless zombie creatures wandering the Earth making everyone’s lives more miserable. But I’m able to put that belief aside for the good of the cause.
In this column, I talked about the good, the bad and the ugly of AI as we know it so far. There is the potential for a lot of good. There also was the potential for a lot of good with social media, and we humans have sure fucked that up.
The potential for bad and ugly is severe. For example, a group of researchers put an artificial intelligence system typically used to ensure a pharmaceutical company’s offering aren’t harmful to the human body into something of a “bad actor” mode. They asked it to come up with compounds that, rather than being safe, were harmful to humans.
In just six hours, that AI came up with more than 40,000 lethal compounds, some more deadly than the most dangerous nerve gas we know of today, VX.
In human resources alone, AI has already been shown to be discriminatory against those with disabilities and those from minority groups. Why? It’s the whole garbage in, garbage out thing. Humans have biases, whether they know that or not. You don’t have to have evil intend to have those biases lead to negative consequences, especially with something as powerful as AI. What’s happening over and over and over again is that those in charge of developing AI to “learn” are putting their own biases into the system, and the AI then runs with that shit to really ugly ends.
AI offers tremendous promise. It also could be what finally pushes us over the edge and leads to our ruin as a species.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I just can’t wait for my permanent crown to be ready!
- Wifey Poo’s new car arrives Monday.
- Baseball season!
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🧩 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 🧩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
🧩 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