Friday, December 15, 2017

Pissed Off Kid Becomes Surly Preteen With Predictable Results

I've been reviewing the progress of this journal recently and it appears that there have been 731 posts-yes folks, you read it right-it's a regular volume of the scurrilous and the profane as well as a place for a sort of barnyard levity. Rude jests and japes are the stuff of which the Dougloid Papers is made.

We started back in early 2006, after I'd been booted off of for the last time for saying "fuck" and I figured I had better escape from that den of Eurosnarkiness and gloomy bauhaus apartments to more salubrious climes of my own choosing.  At some point I acquired the image of the screaming kid and it seemed apropos for what I was puttin' down.

Part of that was moving across town to our own place two years later and I haven't regretted it a bit or been aroused from my slumbers by drunken neighbors collapsing in our shared doorway. Yes, that happened. Any noise here is generated by me and my collection of stuff.

I've acquired some interesting tooling-a Miller MIG welder which is a nice piece of kit, a Lincoln stick welder that I can't use because I need 220v three phase but it looked cool and it was cheap, a Harbor Freight 20 ton press and a Sears combination disc and belt sander. Good for shaping metal tube.

We learned yesterday that my lymphoma hasn't really gone away, but is merely lurking. It expressed itself in a swollen lymph node which I am told may get bigger, smaller or stay the same so we watch and wait and monitor the situation. Chemo at this point would be overkill I think.

I feel pretty good, overall.

She Who Must Be Obeyed retired this year and she prepared for it by mastering the intricacies of Medicare, supplemental insurance and prescription medicines. That was helpful because we now have a relatively steady income with no surprises and we know what our expenditures are. There will be no carnival cruises or vacations in Florida in our future but we're warm, have a well stocked fridge and generally see ourselves as fortunate.

My relations with the other side of the family continue to be problematic. I was contacted by a person, a stranger to me, who took me to task on Facebook and proceeded to relate to me chapter and verse from my former spouse's script, complete with all the slag and accusations. She stands in the way of having any relationship at all with our grandchild and makes whatever relationship I do have with my daughter and her family sometimes tough to navigate, by repeating the same old accusations to anyone who will listen. Repeating such things to strangers without any context is a mistake, I believe.

Also, not acknowledging the bad things we all have done to each other is, in this season of reconciliation, making any reconciliation very difficult, if not impossible.

I try not to wash my dirty laundry in front of strangers.

I wish she'd get off it. I've paid for my sins many times over and have only recently given up on my late night hobby of torturing myself over the errors I made forty years ago.

Her issues are her issues, and I am not going to engage in a tit for tat struggle although I've got some fairly competent ammo and a long memory. I did burn the entire dissolution file in the charcoal grill some years ago, thinking "Why am I lugging this around?"

It's simply not public. It is a private matter.

As for the screaming kid turned surly pre adolescent, I hope he's feeling happier and that things turn around for all of us.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Paranoia Strikes Deep: The Short Life And Lonely Death of Juicero

I've been thinking about the demise of the entire Juicero project lately.

For the three people in the world not in the know, Juicero was a Silicon Valley tech startup that proposed to answer the problem of getting fresh juice by selling you a $700 mechanized press, and a subscription service that you would buy which provided fresh vegetables and fruit in a pouch. They burned through a lot of venture capital and shut down, last year, I believe.

Insert the handy pouch in your $700 press, start the cycle and collect a glass full of fresh wholesome juice-I dunno, broccoli or artichoke juice,-whereas ordinary mortals like me have to either go to the grocery store and buy a carton of OJ or make do with a terribly low tech blender like the kind the Waring folks made-no relation, by the way.

Once fortified, you could hang out by the mailbox for your next delivery of Juicero pouches. The environmental question of what to do with all those empty plastic Juicero bladders was left unanswered for the most part.

Juicero never really caught on and was lampooned with many a rude jest when it was found out that your hands-yes, Virginia, those funny things at the end of your arms with all those digits attached-could squeeze out about as much from a Juicero pouch and then have fun folding the $700 you just didn't spend.

So while I was reading some of the snark surrounding the demise of Juicero I happened on the fact that the Juicero was WiFi enabled.

That's right folks. What the WiFi was supposed to do is make sure that the Juicero would squeeze only legitimate authorized and official Juicero pouches.

What would happen? Imagine a call coming in to your local police department:

"Officer Quiller, this is (insert hipster name here) from Juicero Command Central Bunker Number 5.  One of our units is reporting that a counterfeit sack of rutabagas and pineapple was inserted into Unit 343 at about 3:00 am this morning, located at 1210 Maple Avenue in Windsor Heights, Iowa. It is the property of Mavis Clifford, a forty year old yoga instructor and sometime housewife who was out on a spree at a wine bar and is attempting her grandmother's sure fire hangover cure.

Just thought you could roll a unit and maybe break the door down. A taser would be just fine, thanks. G'bye."

So...your Juicero was there listening in on you all that time, taking note of your most passionate moments in the kitchen and your attempted hangover cures, silently observing, calculating, communing with Juicero Central Bunker Number 5, and deciding on the kind and level of your punishment.

And you thought it made juice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Weekend In The Life.

A Weekend In The Life: A True Story.

Back in the age of the stegosaurus when I was an assistant county attorney I often did the mental health hearings on Friday morning. Usually what would happen was people went off their meds and started acting out, and the ever helpful Craig Busch from the MCSO was there to provide transport to the state mental hospital at Clarinda.

Usually the person being transported would thereby score a lunch at the Northside Cafe courtesy of the county so it was a pretty fair deal all the way around. A good lunch is good medicine for many ailments, I think.

Craig, now retired, is a big brotherly sort with an extensive knowledge of families and their relationships in the county as he has grown up within them and among them. Such knowledge pays dividends when as sometimes happened someone had to be talked out of something that was ill advised at best. One of the other deputies, Gary Davis, attained a sort of fame by talking a man armed with a shotgun down off the outdoor stairway alongside a downtown bar that led up to a few cheap apartments. In so doing he prevented a much greater tragedy from unfolding.

Stories were told about Rex by my mentor Lew, elder statesman of the bar in the county. Rex was the sheriff in the sixties and seventies I think. Rex never wore a uniform, only overalls, work boots, a white tee shirt and a seed cap. In the front pocket of his overalls was a rusty Colt single action revolver that had never been fired in human memory.

Rex never arrested people or swore out warrants. He would simply call and say "This is Rex. Get your ass down to the jail." and that person had time ot have a shower, eat breakfast and turn himself in at the old jail downtown

That's how the stories went about Rex.

One day was different for reasons that will be revealed.

The hearing pretty much followed the script until the guy asked if he could go on Monday morning so as to spend the weekend with his family. As nobody seemed to have any objections it was agreed to.

I got the distinct sense that the guy, a sandy haired fellow in his late twenties, expressed a relaxation of sorts-as if he'd been holding his breath and let it out as something, some course of action out of his suffering had been arrived at.

What we didn't know, couldn't know was that the resolution he'd arrived at in that moment was fatal. Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I can't remember which, he took his father's rifle, walked up into the timber and shot himself to death.

Monday morning was awfully quiet around the courthouse as I busied myself with some menial shuffling of papers and tried to understand what had happened.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Talking Cockroach-A Play In One Act Inspired By Archy and Mehitabel

I first saw an article about cockroaches being tasked to carry things around and act as snoops, and I was reminded of a little trifle I had done back in 2013 on hearing of the demise of one Mullah Omar, as blackhearted and wily a scoundrel as ever walked this earth.

You can read about that here. 

About Mullah Omar and his crew, more can be found here.

The confluence of the two stories seemed to be made to order for my pen.

The Talking Cockroach: A Play in One Act.

The scene is somewhere in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, while snacking on some lamb chops in his hideout has a vision.

It is a talking cockroach.

Cockroach: Hey Omar. Remember me from the Archy and Mehitabel stories?

Omar: Hamdulillah! (sotto voce) What the fuck is this? I'll have to remind Abdul the cook to check the rye bread for too much ergot. How are you my little friend?

Cockroach: Well, I've been up and down the length and breadth of the land of the Crusaders and I have discovered all their secrets.

Omar: Allahu Akbar! Please come and speak, oh Spiny One.

Cockroach: OK, but you see this backpack? It's a very tiny recorder and the audio output is very weak. No batteries hereabouts and the nearest Walmart is several thousand klicks away. There is a hand crank generator that provides just enough power for you to hear it but I must get very close to your ear.

Omar: Praise G-d! O many legged one, climb right next to my hairy ear and spill your guts.

Cockroach (nestling right behind the Hairy Ear of the Anointed One) Can you hear me OK?

Omar: (Impatiently) Yes. That's fine. Now get on with it before I swat your ass if I can find it amidst all those legs.

Cockroach: kaBOOOOOOOM!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

From Chosin to Memphis-a travelogue.

It was the summer of 1953 and I found myself in a cheap hotel room on the bad side of Memphis.

All I had was a cheap suit, slightly frayed at the cuffs, Hathaway shirt and silk tie in need of cleaning, half a pint of inexpensive bourbon, a Smith and Wesson Military and Police .38 revolver,  thirty bucks in my wallet-the last of my military separation money -and a hopped up Oldsmobile Rocket 88 parked out on the street.

My head hurt with a sort of kerblang like the sound of an anti tank round bouncing off the hull of a North Korean T34 tank. Maybe it was the booze, or the  fight I got into in a bar on Beale Street. I don't remember getting hit with a sap and how I got back to my hotel.

And there was the small matter of the dead bar girl parked in the double bed I'd crawled out of a few minutes ago. Pretty, petite, a little shopworn to be sure, I wasn't choosy.

One thing I knew for sure. Memphis in the summer was going to be tolerable in a way that winter up on the Chosin Reservoir made you dream of.

I'd heard about Elvis, Jerry Lee and the Perkins boys and this new thing they called rock and roll, and I knew there was money in it if I could get my hands on the safe, metaphorically speaking.

Somebody did not wish me well. I carefully removed all traces of my presence in the room, tore the register page out of the guest log at the clerk's desk and pocketed it, and called Lieutenant Ridley at Memphis Homicide.  I told him that there was a dead bar girl in room 307 of the Hotel Callaway and hung up the phone.

He'd find me soon enough but I needed a couple days to figure this thing out.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Horse Dick Smugglers Caught In the Act, or, You Can't Get Away With Anything Anymore.

It's another fun filled weekend for news if you've been eyeing the papers lately.

First there was the plot to do away with the male emerald ash borer by preying on his basest instincts-a taste for sex where he hasn't been properly introduced-and now even more fun filled facts.

How's that, you say? Why, read on.

The Washington Post-and other fine news services-report this week that on arriving on a passenger flight from Mongolia, the suitcases of a traveler were opened up to reveal 42 pounds of horse meat including 13 pounds of horse genitals.

You can find the story here.

That's right, folks. Right there in Dallas, Texas, horse dick smuggling is going on under our very noses. The customs folks were stunned. One inspector said "We opened up the suitcases and there it was."

The emphasis, of course is on "it" which tells you all you need to know about this story.

The Post goes on to relate that in another instance a traveler from Africa attempted to bring in not one, not two, but three smoked monkeys in his luggage. There they were with their little faces peeking out.

It gets worse.

The St. Neots Citizen-finest li'l ole satire sheet in Cambridgeshire in the U.K.-suggests that finding horese meat in burgers is because of too many interspecies parties in the pasture.

It just gets better and better. I can't wait for next week.

Horse laffs all around.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Purple Passion Leads To Ruination: How The Emerald Ash Borer Met Its Match

Once again the pesky emerald ash borer is in the news but it is not what you think.

Just as a brief recap, the emerald ash borer is a parasite imported from China that has a weakness for ash trees. It burrows in and makes itself right at home in the cambium layer and pretty much eats the poor old ash tree out of house and home until it conks out for good. The emerald ash borer first showed itself in Michigan in 2002 and since then it has been spreading steadily westward until now, about half the counties in Iowa are playing unwilling hosts to the pesky bug. If you're east of the Missouri River your state is likely host to the critter.

But there's good news.

An international group of scientists has discovered that the male of the species' predilection for do we say this politely...coitus, lots and lots of coitus... can be used to do the male of the species in and thereby quell the invasion.

How's it done, you say? Applied technology to the rescue.

A dead female was sprayed with nickel and a mold was made which can be used to stamp out thousands of copies of the female of the species out of plastic.

A snazzy paint job and a small power supply capable of delivering a 4,000 volt blast completes the decoy and it is then set out to strut its stuff to the male of the species, or so it seems.

The end is rather abrupt and unpleasant, so we suppose.

 It's a homily on popping a chubby in the wrong places under the misapprehension that a night of purple passion is soon to follow.

It thus plays off the basest instincts of males everywhere, and we cannot help but feel sympathetic toward the little fellers. We suppose that thousands of workshops in China, having turned out zillions of inflatable sex dolls of the human species will now bend their efforts to cranking out emerald ash borer analogues, and we here at the Dougloid Towers can only stand back in awe and wonder at the ingenuity of the Chinese workshop, if they pull this off.