January 19, 2018

What Goes Up . . .

Clarence Johanson didn’t mean to start a fire in Doodlebug Island’s back country, and he certainly didn’t plan on a $28,000 bill from the Forest Service for suppressing that fire; and most of all, he didn’t mean to upset and alienate his wife, Sally. But he did all three things through the simple means of acquiring the hot air balloon he’d coveted. Sally had insisted that Doodlebug Island was a poor place from which to launch or land a balloon, but Clarence was listening to the siren voice that spoke of limitless views and of wind-borne pleasure. He fancied himself…

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Dolly’s Argument

Visitors to Dolly Madison Peabody’s home are impressed with the plaques and trophies that overspread her walls and shelves and they are wowed by the autographed pictures of notables that are randomly hung throughout. Indeed, pictures, plaques, and trophies seem to jostle each other for space and, as a result, everything appears to meld together as one giant testimonial to the unusual woman who lives among them and keeps them dusted. Even more striking, however, close attention reveals accomplishment in a staggering variety of fields and testimonials from people from diverse times and backgrounds. A large, bronze plaque, for example,…

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Humorous Mischief Maker, J.C.

J.C. Wrangle is a Doodlebug Island rancher who surrounds his land, cattle, and other holdings with barbed wire and advertises himself as living in a gated community. Claims it’s the finest on the Island. J.C. himself, however, is as open-handed as his property is enclosed, and he has an irrepressible humor about him which bubbles over in his dealings with other ranchers and residents. Now, it happens that part of J.C.’s land lies parallel to the fourteenth fairway of the Doodlebug Island five-star resort golf course, so he finds a good many golf balls lost by players fighting a vicious…

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Phil’s Reasoning

Life-long Doodlebug Island resident Phil Malvern owns and manages a Jeep outfit that offers scenic tours of the Sedona area to visitors. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, a straight arrow that sticks to historical fact and accurate topographical information. In this, he is the opposite of his chief driver, Curley Gwelthausen, who holds the patent on storytelling and imaginative labeling. Curley explains that since he generally hauls people who are innocent of any type of Arizona history, and who wouldn’t know a metamorphic rock from a rock by any other name, he feels free to embroider, embellish, and “label…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

How the use of a single word no longer in the written or spoken English lexicon could have launched a tidal wave of interest was nothing short of miraculous, and, though I was initially responsible for it, the gathering effect took on a life of its own, outstripping any idea of ownership. In the manner of a break from editing chores in connection with the paper I own and publish, I began perusing a first-edition pronouncing dictionary given to me by my adorable Granddaughter Joan when I came upon the word ‘fribble,’ and immediately decided to use it on the…

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Amidst The Delightfully Green Foliage

Despite many years of feuding and fussing, their notorious resort to physical mayhem and their penchant for murderous onslaught, the National Association of Grammarians once again held their annual convention amidst the delightfully green foliage of Doodlebug Island. That they were able to do so is a testament to the forgiving nature of local residents who, not too secretly, wish these grammatical storm troopers would conduct their military campaigns elsewhere. The last combatant left yesterday. This year’s outcomes were no different from previous years, though the rancorous disagreements were noticeably louder and more pointed. Delegates appeared to agree upon only…

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Life of Dan

A black sheep, aside from its more utilitarian virtues, serves to reveal just how white white sheep really are. Of course, the thing works in reverse and in other fields, so when we find someone on Doodlebug Island of a virtuous eccentricity, we take note of him. He’s likely to show the rest of us as real oddities. Dan Piedmont, owner of the Doodlebug Hardware Store, is a man whose actions are noteworthy. His life seems to have been cobbled together out of the parts of other lives, yet he is one of the happiest and most exuberant men on the Island….

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Picking a Fight

Thom Swingel’s repeated request for more favorable advertising rates in my newspaper, the Doodlebug Island Run-on, irked my past remembrance of those few religiously induced tolerances suggested to me at my mother’s knee and my father’s woodshed, and I finally told him to take his business elsewhere. Well, he did, but was soon back. “Rates at other Sedona newspapers are no better, Bill. Do you guys get together?” “The truth is we don’t, and actually, there’s no need. Publishing costs are the same for all of us, and that, after all, is what drives prices.” After he left, I got…

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New Psychologist on The Island

A psychologist of some renown bought a house on our fair Island a couple years ago, and, after moving his family into it, hung a shingle on the front porch advertising his services. He waited a great many days for even a single patient to appear, but no one came. At that point, he began to enquire why this should be so? Several people from whom he sought answers suggested he contact me with an eye to advertising in The Doodlebug Weekly Run-On, which I edit. The first thing I knew, this gentleman was seated before me asking about rates,…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Exactly how a discussion of an ideal political system morphed—perhaps it should be more properly be said ‘descended’– -into individual descriptions of belief regarding totems was impossible to say, The Doodlebug Island Philosophy club had been well on its way toward solving the world’s problems when it was sidetracked by a sudden penchant of members to provide detailed explanations of attachments to those physical or imaginative symbols of which each seemed to be possessed The diversion was afterward lain at the feet of Herb Collins, a pharmacist by training; a mystic by nature. He announced that on the night prior…

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National Rival Association, Turning a Deaf Ear and Putting Out Fires

Doodlebug Island fire chief Claude Finnegan has at last solved one of his more perplexing and reoccurring problems, and it has lightened his load appreciatively. He has begun calling the Caldwell household each evening to learn whether the wife, Laurie, or the husband, Dave, is cooking dinner. If he learns that it’s Dave, Claude feels free to close the fire station and go home to his own dinner. But, if he hears that Laurie is cooking, he or one of his staff remains on duty for the emergency call he knows is inevitably going to be made. Now, it’s not…

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The Inexplicability Remains

Some things and/or events are, by their very nature, inexplicable. You can spend days together analyzing them or reflecting upon them, but, despite all, the inexplicability remains. A recent set of events will illustrate the point. As editor of the Doodlebug Island Weekly Run-on, I wrote a series of columns last month in which I was critical of teacher education at state-run universities. Indeed, the word “critical” hardly seems to do my scathing denunciations justice. It would be safe to say my attacks would be thought by some to border on magniloquent bombast. But, though I whaled away at such…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Judged by celebrations of prior years, this Christmas and New Year have been among the most festive . The Doodlebug Island town council ordered new lights which arrived just in time to turn the Island into a fairy land. Tinsel, bunting, and a live Santa perched in a real sleigh decorated the Plaza, and the latter never failed to elicit a good deal of merriment, for the sleigh was pulled by eight goats who proceeded to eat whatever amount of hay was brought for the manger scene, and who individually and collectively demonstrated the herding qualities of Tea Party members…

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Christmas 2012!

Christmas this year fetched up on the shores of Doodlebug Island in much the same fashion as in previous years with the exception of the increase of baking, neighboring, and gift giving that threatened to swamp past records for their intensity and thoroughness. It almost had an Aztec “end of the world” quality to it because activity rose to a peak about the twenty-second following a solid month of preparation, which nearly eclipsed Thanksgiving altogether. The twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and Christmas Day itself were anticlimactic with Islanders hunkering down at home like so many hibernating bears, content in the belief they’d…

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Rumor That Took Off Like A Rocket

When I started the rumor that I was being considered for the Pulitzer Prize in literature, I was just having what I thought was a little innocent fun. But like most rumors this one took off like a rocket aimed at the moon, and before I could quell the whole matter, I found myself being feted from one end of our little island kingdom to the other. People were equally divided between congratulating me on a personal accomplishment, and congratulating themselves for living in a place soon to be made famous. I tell you, if I had the capacity for…

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Kidnapped by Cowboy Poets

Home to the leafy bowery of Doodlebug Island and none too soon! I am, in fact, only just returned from the most frightening and trying experience of my life, and I am counting myself lucky to have escaped when I did. You see, a couple of days ago I was kidnapped at gun point by a group of cowboy poets from Prescott who were sore at me for the things I’ve printed in my newspaper about their poetry. What I’d said was the truth, largely, but whether or not it was recognized as that commodity by these heathen rhymers wouldn’t stand scrutiny….

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No News from Doodlebug Island, by William F Jordan

Tuesday began on a disastrous note: the yoke on my ancient Merganthaler letter press broke mid-run on wedding invitations due for delivery by day’s end. Two irate subscribers to my newspaper The Doodlebug Island Run-on stormed in, one to complain about an editorial I’d written advocating acceptance of such slang expressions as ‘strugglebus’ and acronyms like ‘L-O- L’; the second miffed that I’d somehow failed to include notice of her son’s graduation from Harvard. About then, my pressman became ill and had to go home, leaving me to deal with the Merganthaler, the wedding invitations and any other angry patrons…

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The Dusky Maiden’s Lair

Not thirty minutes after he returned from church services in Sedona where the singing of Amazing Grace helped him and his fellow congregates celebrate what successful wretches they were, James Whitsell, our long-time neighbor and friend, did the most wretched thing of his life: he died. Now, given the assumed advantage of popping off when one is primed with repentance, it might be considered fortunate in most circles to expire upon one’s return from church, or, as in James’ case, shortly after. And we Islanders are not such hardened souls as to deny a man improving his chances any chance…

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No News from Doodlebud Island…by William F. Jordan

The small ticker-tape parade in honor of Hillary’s victory and celebration of our first female president was set to begin early on the morning following the election when we learned to our horror that a misfit had won the seat. Traumatized by this turn of events—or ‘Trumpatitized’ as someone pointed out, we canceled the parade, and any ideas of celebration turned into a wake. It was poor consolation to think that bigotry, ignorance, greed, and coarseness had finally found a uniting voice whose whole demeanor described an America none of us knew. Well, we made short work of the tears…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Anslow Reddington– Judge Reddington to those appearing before his bench– has lived on Doodlebug Island for the whole of his adult life although his law practice and court experience have been off Island where duty has been that of a circuit attorney or judge. Not that his fellow residents haven’t needed the law’s interceding benefits from time to time—the temptation to speed or imbibe beyond moderation being factors in the matter—they, like people everywhere, have occasionally found themselves in court. But far from the hard-nosed, judgment-driven arbiter of legal technicalities and sentences, Anslow wages an effort to keep a human…

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