Friday, April 26, 2024

Confessional Epilogue

In 2013 and 2017, I blogged about my fractious relationship with "Sandra." Even though she iced me out years ago, I attempted two or three times to reach out by email, the last time in Summer 2020. I thought the story was over until a recent development. 

A mutual high school acquaintance tipped me that Sandra was getting a divorce. I went to her Facebook --we're still friends, though we don't interact-- and noticed that any mention of her husband had disappeared. Then I went to her husband's FB and found what my confirmation: over a year ago, she started a Bumble account on the down low, met a guy and moved in with him. She essentially walked out on her two daughters and husband of almost nine years. 

I've never met Sandra's husband; they met in 2012, and he was babysitting when Sandra and I (among others) did dinner in July 2017. We've had one brief social media interaction. All he said was that Sandra posted a flowery response for shanking her marriage, but without a doubt, he was cucked. I heard from another mutual friend he has severe anxiety and wasn't handling this well. Without context, I hope he gets full custody of their two daughters.

To some extent, I'm not surprised. It took me a long time to realize Sandra's narcissism, but I knew her pattern of poor communication and acting on impulse. She didn't apologize for avoiding me in 2010, she simply justified why. When I thought we were going to reconnect in 2017, she was mostly avoidant all night. Perhaps my act of self-sabotage was, without reasoning mistakes, a blessing in disguise. I am unlikely to interact with Sandra or her estranged husband again, there's no need to. Weirdly, I feel almost validated in retrospect.


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

30 Teams, 30 Haiku: My 2024 MLB Preview


Is it late March already? Spring training has closed shop, the lawns are cut, the dirt is pristine, and I already smell the $10 hot dogs and $12 beers. Baseball has started anew, and again I'm guardedly optimistic about my Royals. The AL Central is the weakest in baseball, and even last year's best team (the Twinkies) aren't necessarily striking the iron while it's hot. This division is wide open, and if the stars align KC might crack .500 and sneak into October ball. (Let me dream.)

As always, I cover all 30 teams, 17 syllables at a time. Asterisks note wild cards.


  1. Braves. Can’t break their Stride(r)/barely anyone beats them/…except the Phillies.

  2. Phillies.* Is Schwarber the next/Rob Deer, Frank Howard, or one/pudgy unicorn?

  3. Marlins. Without Sandy, the/pitching still shines; injured Jazz/gives offense the blues. 

  4. Mets. A healthy Edwin/ensures eight inning games; in/Flushing, they stand pat.

  5. Nationals. Still, still rebuilding/patience on the Potomac/Wood, Crews not ready.


  1. Cubs. Third base needs Morel/support; enough talent to/put Taillon first place.

  2. Reds. Young, deep, and feisty/once Elly figures out big/league pitching, watch out!

  3. Cardinals. Last year? Rock bottom/the “Redbird Way” still needs a/GPS, pronto.

  4. Brewers. Youthful rotation/suggests a rebuild, yet their/bats still foment runs.

  5. Pirates. This frigate might win/70; Keller captains/soggy staff of arms.


  1. Dodgers. Ohtani was a/sure bet; deep pockets, too big/to fail, boom or bust.

  2. D-Backs.* Snakes alive, they’re still/a dark horse; rotation depth/remains an issue.

  3. Padres.* Preller the seller/pared-back Friars must make more/with less; King must reign.

  4. Giants. Webb of deception/was Kapler the issue, or/are they just middling?

  5. Rockies. Thin air, thin talent/Rocky Mountain wayward can’t/trade injured Bryant.


  1. Orioles. Early birds score the/runs; adios, Angelos/good morn, Baltimore!

  2. Yankees.* Soto might give Judge/Juan shot at a title; Boone’s/hot seat is charring.

  3. Rays.* Wander no more, this/team is focused on winning/now (they bargain well).

  4. Blue Jays. Can anyone hit/besides Bo? Good rotation/begs for run support.

  5. Red Sox. Strange mix of young, old/defense issues still linger/Cora tweaks the core.


  1. Guardians. The best by default/power outage, outfield woes/persist, yet still tops.

  2. Twins. Playoff monkey off/their backs, slashed payroll boosts youth/Not enough lefties.

  3. Royals. Bolstered bullpen hopes/Ragans is economic/amid well-paid arms.

  4. Tigers. Detroit Mercy, health/is concerning here; young arms/counter greenhorn bats.

  5. White Sox. Hired ex-Royals/aren’t needed; Reinsdorf wrecks this/club all by himself.


  1. Astros. Victor, upgrade at/backstop; soft bullpen hinders/a constant lineup.

  2. Rangers*. Early DL woes/raise concerns; Wyatt won’t be/quiet for too long.

  3. Mariners. Middle of the road/O (besides J-Rod); arms must/rally ‘round Raleigh. 

  4. Angels. Trout, Rendon, Detmers/need rebound years; leap (O’Hoppe?)/over .500?

  5. Athletics. Mount Davis, old slum/Vegas move, complicated/Sad situation.

NL ROY: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers

AL ROY: Wyatt Langford, Rangers

NL Cy Young: Zach Wheeler, Phillies

AL Cy Young: Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna, Braves

AL MVP: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners

First Manager Fired: Bud Black, Rockies

2024 World Series: Dodgers over Rangers in 7


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Geezer Teaser

The primaries aren't quite over, but the result was a foregone conclusion six months ago: a rematch of Biden versus Trump, the first major party encore since Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. (Pity the fellow Illinoisan-- our primary is still a week away.) As Jon Stewart attempted to point out a few weeks ago, Biden and Trump are also breaking the record for oldest presidential candidates since... the same two east coast grandfathers, four years ago.

The age difference between Trump and Biden is 3 1/2 years, and while there are obvious old age concerns, only one candidate seems to be in mental decline. The contrast was blatant this past week: Biden give a fiery State of the Union speech, belying his 81 years, while 77-year-old Trump looks increasingly tired and focused at his frequent Nuremberg rallies. One could blame Trump's weariness on all his legal woes, but I'd argue it's his undiagnosed diabetes. (For some personal perspective, my father died of "old age" at 78.)

Some of the Biden obloquy makes sense. His response to Gaza was has been lackadaisical for all involved parties. The economy is fine, and there is job growth, but inflation --or rather, simulated inflation by big business-- hasn't been tackled. Biden's first term has been a mixed bag, but there's no need to reiterate how we cannot let Trump pull a Grover Cleveland. This rematch is unappetizing for many Americans, but Joe Biden is the closest thing to a palatable option. 

Next week: my 2024 baseball preview.


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A House, Disordered

We inherited a mess.

After months of struggling to find our aunt's lawyer, we reached out to our lawyer as a last resort. They found an attorney based in Chicago proper, and after a long convo, I reluctantly agreed to be trustee for my aunt's estate. (The two trustees she appointed, my father and her husband, are both long dead.) Her house in Naperville is the entire estate, and we also inherited a mortgage and other debts. Additionally, her sister-in-law was also bequeathed money. When all is said and done, my sister and I might break even. 

When we made out first posthumous visit to the house last July, we did not make a positive impression on the house's caretaker, our aunt's next-door neighbor. This time, we showed him the paperwork, and he agreed to cooperate. Before we walked in, he warned us that there might have been some flooding in the basement. There was a snowstorm in the area in mid-January, and he hadn't been in the house since around New Year's. 

Indeed, there was flooding. About five feet of standing water, just sitting there for about a month. We called State Farm, our aunt's insurer, and they won't help because the heat was turned off. The house permeates with black mold, so have to open windows and wear masks. Thankfully, most of items we want weren't in the basement, but there's still the matter of making the house inhabitable again.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Departing the Machine

From 2019 until the middle of last year, I contributed to a satirical newspaper called the Chicago Machine. It was a strictly online entity, a tabloid in the loosest sense, in the vein of The Onion and its countless imitators. Citing lack of interest, the Machine quietly shut down late last year; however, I had several articles and news "briefs" in the Trello queue that never saw the light of day. I'm especially fond of this one. (NOTE: I wrote this nearly a year ago.)

Seven months into hospice care, former U.S. President and humanitarian Jimmy Carter finished the 2023 Chicago Marathon in two hours, 58 minutes. Runners and marathon staff was shocked to see the 99-year-old not only standing on his own two feet, but finished in the middle of the pack in one of the world’s highest-profile foot races. Carter attributed his performance to Jesus and a high-carb diet.

After finishing a post-race Clif bar, Carter said he will fly back down to his hometown of Plains, GA and have “insane sex” with his wife of 77 years, Rosalynn.

I suppose if I have any personal nitpick about this piece, it's that The Onion posted several Carter stories in the wake of his hospice announcement last winter. However, I'll attribute that to parallel thought. 


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Wincing in the Winter

Happy 2024, one and all. I'm grateful that anyone still reads this.

I'm turning 40 this coming summer, and I'm not necessarily looking forward to the milestone. I'd like to do something special to mark the occasion, preferably travel, but money is kind of tight. I'm also reminded of my age almost daily; this year's high school seniors weren't born yet when I started this blog. (I intentionally excluded that from last year's mindset list.) The general manager of one radio station I worked at 20 years ago died of old age around Thanksgiving. 

With that said, to alleviate some debt I've started a Stu News Patreon. More info here.

Meanwhile... in 2024 as he did in 2016, Donald Trump is laying waste to a crowded yet weak crop of Republican presidential challengers. The Iowa Caucus was a mere confirmation. Even though 2016 was more of a logjam (17 candidates were debate-eligible at one point) the modern never-Trumpers in the GOP are both scant and in over their heads. Even though Asa Hutchison is still in the race (and polling at 1% at best), Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis combined aren't enough to stop the America First tidal wave. It's sickening that people won't learn from past mistakes --conservatives have always been top-tier gaslighters-- but for a substantial percentage of the US population, an obese, misogynist oligarch in clear cognitive decline is the avatar of what might heal America.