October 21, 2018

No News From Doodlebug Island, by William F Jordan

The usual group of Islanders with idle time on their hands and a casual disregard for the way that time was spent were gathered at Smiley Blevins barber shop where astute political analysis was always the order of the day and pronouncements rendered with the force of papal bulls. “Donald Trump is the sole accomplishment of do-nothing Republican members of Congress,” asserted Dwight Bernbaum, a retired dentist and current councilman. “He is the spokesman for millions of Americans fed up with office holders who ostensibly owe allegiance to party rather than country!” “Yeah, Trump is a hollow shell housing all…

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No News Is Good News…by William F Jordan

Doodlebug Island resident, Amos Huxley, has often described himself as being born out of time. But this is hard to comprehend given the fact he is a strong believer in the idea of reincarnation and that he is a current iteration of someone who has had a foot in every age since Neanderthal! Time, it would appear, could have little to do with it. “What I mean is that I think I was best suited for the fifteenth century. Modern life is too pedantic, too organized, too bureaucratic. Give me the merry making, the jousting, the knightly questing when Henry…

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Unjust Accusations…by Brendon Marks

I have received some feedback on a previous column, unjustly accusing me of advocating the use of tools while under the influence of judgment-altering substances, specifically beer. Regular readers know this is not true. That would be criminal lack of judgment. If I were going to advocate something, it would be vendors on every street corner dispensing free hot dogs, the total abolition of car insurance, or changing all street names to the Dewey decimal system. Anything else, I just report what I see and I don’t have to make things up. However, I’m not the first to observe the…

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Thin Wins . . . by Will Durst

The great state of Iowa has a history of cultivating its topsoil for a harvest of winners the rest of the country may enjoy. Glenn Miller. Buffalo Bill Cody. George Reeves. Herbert Hoover. James Tiberius Kirk. As a side note, this may be the first time in history the word “enjoy” has been linked to Herbert Hoover. The recent raucous caucus process is a perfect example of the Hawkeye State’s peculiar propensity for propagating the propitious. It is the Special Olympics of politics. “Thanks for playing our game. Here’s a bunch of trophies. We think everybody’s a winner.” After the…

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Hawkeyes and Granitoids…by Will Durst

And now the question that’s been dancing on the lips of politically concerned citizens for decades. Who’s the genius that chose Iowa and New Hampshire to be the first and most influential states in determining who becomes the next president? Probably the same guy who figured out how to bundle subprime mortgages. Or related to the brewer who invented Cold Turkey Breakfast Beer. The idiot behind pay- toilets on airplanes. The premier production, the Iowa Caucuses, is a wild and wacky adventure that takes up an entire evening. First you find where your designated precinct gathering is being held in…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F. Jordan

A sales representative from a printing company featuring modern duplicating equipment made his way into my office recently here at the Doodlebug Run-on and publishing company, took a look at my ancient Mergenthaler linotype machine and my hand-fed Miehle letter press, trays of lead type of various sizes and families of fonts, shook his head, and asked tentatively and in obvious disbelief if I’d given any thought to upgrading my operation? Said he could sell me state-of-the-art equipment that would both speed-up and ease my printing requirements. “Why, the speed and simplicity will pay for the machines you buy in…

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TV or not TV, That is the Question…by Brendon Marks

Recently as I marveled at the miracle of satellite TV I recalled the days gone by of when many rural households had no choice except over the air broadcast TV with the required antenna bristling from the peak of the roof, and an event which cemented these bygone days in my memory. When I first noticed that all channels above thirteen on my TV were showing the same silent movie about a severe snowstorm in the Arctic I said, “Aw gee whiz. What now? First I can’t read the TV listings in my newspaper, now this.” The first thing I…

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Water We Waiting For? Water Conservation NOW! . . . by Nicholas Martell

As I walk into the Hilton hotel for the 107th Arizona Town Hall Meeting, I find myself in unfamiliar territory. What the hell am I doing in a Hilton hotel in the first place? This is me, a scruffy, 29 year old graduate student who refuses to cut (or regularly comb) his thick, John Fogerty-esque mane. None of my favorite shirts come anywhere near a button, and I prefer my shoes to be of the slip-on nature. When did I become an adult? As I approach the registration table all I can feel is the nagging anxiety of wondering if…

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Smite Might . . . by Will Durst

Bullies love fear. And once they sniff its smoke, the real pros know how to fuel and exploit it. Always claiming to represent the greater good, when what they specialize in is looking out for #1. And flinging loads of #2 at the rest of us. Consequently, the people most susceptible to their reviled reveille are the weak, the ignorant, the powerless, other bullies and folks with neck tattoos. Hitler, Stalin and Joe McCarthy all secured status in the Big Time Bully Hall of Fame by railing against imaginary enemies. Creating an “us versus them” story line where anybody who…

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It Was My Birthday . . . by William F Jordan

It was my birthday—read that ‘ancient’—and I wasn’t feeling well—read that a slight cold and a mild cough—so, as I sat at my desk at the Doodlebug Island Run-on—read that a newspaper only a few years younger than I—I was feeling an odd mix of ennui and nostalgia. And the worst part of it was that not a single person had popped in to wish me the best of the day. Oh, I had had visitors alright, the kind who wanted to complain about their names being spelled wrong, or items of factual interest that exceeded the mark or fell…

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Which Life To Fix . . . by Brendon marks

While talking with an acquaintance few years ago, I mentioned that all of my lives were in turmoil, and he asked, “How many wives do you have?” Assuming that he had misunderstood, and ignoring all thoughts of how delighted Freud would have been to interview this person; I pressed on. (Before I continue, I would like to state unequivocally that my one and only wife is not directly responsible for the turmoil in any of my lives.) I watched for a flicker of interest as I enumerated each of my lives: Work life, home life, and so forth. At “Car…

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The Three F’s . . . by Brendon Marks

So you’re suffering from the three F’s: fat, forty, and frustrated–well, help is available. I can’t do much about “forty”, except suggest you slap on a coat of Oil of Old Lady, to cover your basketball complexion so you don’t look forty. And you’ll have to get “frustrated” advice from another source, but “fat” is right down my alley. Before everybody starts writing letters, let me say that I am not saying that you’re fat. I’m also not saying there is anything wrong with being fat. I’m just saying you may think you’re fat and you may have decided to…

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No News from Doodlebug Island, by William F. Jordan

One of the more fascinating aspects of being in the newspaper editing and publishing business is that it provides a ring-side seat to the news or to the lives of those who make the news. Equally interesting is the business of publishing biographies, but either or both of these fails to rise to the interest level involved in publishing autobiographies. Here are recounted not only the factual results of someone’s life but his or her more intimate feelings, reactions, and attitudes about those results. More intimate yet are the regrets, blunted dreams, wishes unrealized, achievements missed, or ambitions unfulfilled It…

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The Three Fs by Brendon Marks

So you’re suffering from the three F’s: fat, forty, and frustrated–well, help is available. I can’t do much about “forty”, except suggest you slap on a coat of Oil of Old Lady, to cover your basketball complexion so you don’t look forty. And you’ll have to get “frustrated” advice from another source, but “fat” is right down my alley. Before everybody starts writing letters, let me say that I am not saying that you’re fat. I’m also not saying there is anything wrong with being fat. I’m just saying you may think you’re fat and you may have decided to…

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The Unwritten Word . . . by William F. Jordan

It had been one of those weeks nothing happened that rose to the level of printable news. The blank pages of my newspaper, the Doodlebug Island Run-on, seemed to stare mockingly up at me as if to confirm the little good all my past efforts had achieved, and the extreme likelihood that the future didn’t auger well for anything better. Phone calls to service organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary produced nothing. No group was planning anything beyond its weekly meeting, and none was convinced that programs lined up represented anything more than a ho-hum speaker made tolerable by the comraderie…

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I May Get Around To It . . . by Brendon Marks

I’m a world class procrastinator. I should join Procrastinator’s Anonymous, and I will, someday. How do they get any members anyway? If someone were really a procrastinator, they’d never join, and if they join, they’re not really a procrastinator. Maybe they should call it Very Nearly Procrastinator’s Anonymous. I suppose some are not really procrastinators; they just suffer from BFS (But First Syndrome). But First Syndrome is not the habit of always entering a room backwards or letting your husband take the lead; it’s the problem of allowing a new task to interfere with finishing an earlier one. For example,…

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Plasti-Pack, by Brendon Marks

I predict that you will never see a utility knife for sale in one of those clear plastic, form fitting, clamshell packages, because if you don’t own a utility knife you can’t get the package open. And if you own a utility knife, you don’t need another one. Other tools can be used to open these packages, but if you don’t own a utility knife, the chances are you won’t own a chain saw or axe either. This ingenious package design encloses a purchase item between two pieces of plastic like a sandwich. This clear, hard plastic shell is either…

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No News From Doodlebug Island, by William F. Jordan

It has become the practice of my wife and several of her girlfriends to conduct a fall shopping expedition to New York, where they stay at one fancy hotel or another, consume late afternoon maitais following many hours at Macy’s, Borgdorf’s, and Bloomingdales before dressing for an evening at the theater and a late dinner at Sardi’s. Contemplation of the next extravaganza begins follows hard on the heels of their return, and involves a critique of their recent triumphs and those things they mean to improve. Needless to say, we husbands are less than enthusiastic about these annual pilgrimages. In…

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THE ZANY SIDE OF THE GOP DEBATES by Will durst

To the one thirteenth of all Americans who watched the latest GOP debate, congratulations on surviving the political equivalent of the 24 hours of Le Mans. You just climbed Campaign Everest. Strapped to a pair of debates. Or to be more precise; a pair of mind- numbing, marathon, 4 and a half hour, endurance- test, butt- fall- asleep debates. Not just for the 15 candidates and viewing public, but also the CNN correspondents, many who needed a shave by night’s end. It was the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon of debates, only later in September with the cause…

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Marble Poisoning, by Will Durst

It’s a race to the outside. Avoid the middle like the plague. The goal is to not be one with the pack. Even the most conservative of Republicans knows that he/ she/ it has to move beyond rock- solid, standard- bearer of the party line. Anybody who wants the nomination today has to show some flash, be a rebel, an iconoclast, wear a puffy shirt. Wild and wacky is the new name of the electioneering game. Maybe it was the proliferation of reality shows that convinced Americans that real life should be entertaining, but this country now has the same…

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