New From the App Store: Tack’EmUp

February 6, 2019


Are you confused by the morass of Russian contacts and the cast of characters examined by the Mueller investigation? (Me too.) Who has been indicted? Who is in jail already? Who’s about to be sentenced to jail? At whom are legal fingers being pointed? Who testified about whom? And where the hell is Ukraine? All those lies, overwhelming evidence of criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice and suspicious flows of currency, they form a gnarly Gordian knot. Let our fantastic new smartphone app, Tack’EmUp, turn your largest wall into a visual description of the investigation. Tack’EmUp includes ten pounds of thumbtacks, 100 miles of colored string, guided instructions for printing photos, bios and summary text describing the individuals, companies and evidence, and detailed instructions for turning the partition into one of those things you see on TV when a detective solves a murder. (Minimum sized wall required is bigger than any of yours.)

George Washington’s “Rules of Civility”

February 6, 2019



Last night at Trump’s SOTU performance he read lists. I submit for your approval a different list, from George Washington’s “Rules of Civility”. One of the least well-known documents written by the nation’s first president, these 110 rules served as Washington’s guidelines for virtuous behavior. While many relate to manners at the table, the rest deal with social constructs and etiquette. I have picked out just a few that Donald Trump knows nothing and cares nothing about:

(I have endeavored to keep Mr Washington’s convention of spelling and sometimes odd capitalization.)

1. Every Action done in Company ought to be with some Sign of Respect to those that are Present. [Insults and disparagement to the press, the courts and many other US institutions and individuals.]

7. Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed. [Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal may have something to say about that.]

21. Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof. [At a rally Trump mocked a reporter with arthrogryposis, a congenital disability.]

25. Superfluous Compliments and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected. [Like a dictator he wants military parades in his honor.]

30. In walking, the highest Place in most Countries seems to be on the right hand. Therefore, place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honor… [He made her wait, and then he walked ahead of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK at Buckingham Palace.]

44. When a man does all he can, though it Succeeds not well, blame not him that did it. [He always blames others instead of taking responsibility for his own errors.]

47. Mock not nor jest any thing of Importance, break no Jest that are Sharp Biting, and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasant abstain from Laughing thereat yourself. [See #1.]

49. Use no Reproachful Language against any one; neither Curse nor Revile. [He insults anyone who criticizes him or does not praise him enough.]

58. Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for ’tis a Sign of a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion admit Reason to Govern. [He finds it nearly impossible to speak without malice or envy, due to his innate meanness and insecurity.]

65. Speak not injurious Words; neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion. [Oh yeah.]

67. Detract not from others, neither be excessive in Commanding. [“So-called judges…” and “I need loyalty.”]

68. Go not thither, where you know not whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice without being Asked, & when desired do it briefly. [He insults and criticizes our oldest and most valuable allies: Canada, the UK, Germany, France, the EU in general, South Korea and many more.]

79. Be not apt to relate News if you know not the Truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard, Name not your Author always. [“Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof.” Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.]

88. Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse. [Ha ha ha. Have you ever looked at the text of his interviews? Incoherent, contradictory and repetitious.]

110. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little celestial spark called Conscience. [Him? Conscience? Ha ha ha — he doesn’t have one.]

(Thanks to Cheryl McGregor.)

Thank you, George, you left us an important example; I am sure you would have been appalled by POTUS45.

New From the App Store: DiaperSquad

January 27, 2019

Soon we’ll be welcoming the babies born from couples married last June. These young mothers and fathers won’t be ready. With diaper skills. No one is. Here at Uncle JD’s Couple Management Apps, you won’t need to fly the coop, at the first sign of poop. (It’s this delicate mustardy custard, like kitten barf. Smells like hell.) And pee? Holy crap, a little boy can put out a fire across the room. You need DiaperSquad. Just take a new diaper and put it in the special bag, along with the soiled child in the dirty diaper, and your phone. Gently shake the bag and wait for the signal on your other phone.



Super Bowl LIII Wrap-Up

January 23, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Yesterday’s Super Bowl was historic. The president had exerted the kind of unbridled, extreme and unwarranted pressure we are almost used to seeing, so it was not in any way a typical football game. Using a combination of executive orders, temper tantrums and his stubborn refusal to reopen the government until major concessions were made, Super Bowl LIII was not a contest between the Patriots and the Rams, but instead pitted Republicans against Democrats.

President Trump was the Republican head coach, quarterback, center, offensive line (his favorite) and tight end, all at the same time. Nancy Pelosi was impressive, as were Chuck Schumer and the other white knights, but you can infer that the Democrats lost knowing that the game refs were Matt Whitaker, William Barr, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon. (Jeff Sessions was the Republican players’ water boy.) Trump gave his State of the Union address at halftime, and it was quite the extravaganza. But there was not much that was substantive or new. Or truthful.

The GOP cheer-leading squad featured Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Sanders, Melania, Ivanka, and Ann Coulter. They enthusiastically performed well known Slytherin-style cheer routines aimed at Trump.

The post-game show included an analysis of the game ball used by the Republicans, which was estimated to be about 15% smaller than an official NFL football. When asked what a smaller ball might have meant to the Republicans’ victory, the sports panel members all looked at each other, and in unison, as if in surrender, raised their hands.



The Crack in the Titanic’s Hull

January 18, 2019


The hands on the clock counting down the time left for POTUS45 began to speed up last night. For nearly two years, nearly every act or tweet by our perpetrator president has sounded the alarm of impeachment, but this is the big one, the iceberg cracking the hull of Trump’s titanically bad presidency. This is the big OOJ, ‘Obstruction of justice’.

Mobsters intimidate or kill witnesses, politicians and mobsters bribe key people to make legal troubles go away. (And we haven’t even gotten to the Russia part yet!) It was OOJ that led to Nixon’s defeat, and it will help lead to Trump’s. His tune will change from “No collusion” to “No collusion, and I didn’t do anything wrong!” He will yell this repeatedly as he looks daggers at his lawyers, who this time will not be able to ‘protect’ him.

I believe Trump is mentally ill, and really believes that he is above the law, impervious to legal punishment; there will be a flood of papers written about Trump’s scale-busting narcissism, and how as he was frog-marched to his prison cell, he screamed profanities to no one in particular, certain of the unfairness.

Go in the Snow with SnowMeGo

January 12, 2019

There are times when I start a post with “there are times when…” and there are times when I don’t. The cold winter weather conditions in our nearly-beloved Washington DC area threaten to unleash the white stuff. For which people are nearly always not ready. Because the inhabitants are cynical. They do not trust winter storm warnings. They scoff. They down their rum drinks sporting tiny umbrellas with scorn. They don’t even slather their wellies with badger fat. So when theĀ white stuff comes they are as cats let out of a bag. Confused and probably more than a little ticked. First thing you do is activate SnowMeGo, the great new snow-driving traction app from Tiny Umbrellas Smartphone Apps. Then duct tape two dozen phones to each tire, using the 97th phone to control them. With SnowMeGo you’ll zip past all those up-country degens stranded in the piles of snow, because this is one of those times.snow_tire-chain_b

She’s About to Blow!

December 22, 2018



In every possible way, Donald Trump is unfit to run the country as the president. He is playing a role, a reality TV version of the “president,” and being a theatrical player is all he wanted, to be the center of attention of adoring masses on the world’s stage. (When he recited his Presidential Oath in January of 2017, he was just reading his lines; he didn’t understand them, had never read the Constitution, had no intention of keeping any promises the oath demanded.) In character, intellect, temperament and experience, he is completely unfit — completely. We knew this, this is not new. He is the most ignorant person in Washington DC, knowing little to nothing about history, science and world affairs, has never been in the military, and possesses only a cursory understand of government and legislation. He thinks that a philosopher, a “lover of truth” is a loser. Instead of reading and taking the advice of experts, he watches the wrong TV shows and trusts other morons like him. His greedy understanding of the world consists of taking, of graft and corruption, helping rich buddies who will help him; his vocabulary never rises above the playground bully or the mobster.

If the world were a Christmas ornament shop, full of delicate beautiful things, he would be the angry toddler throwing a violent tantrum. So much breakage it registers on scientific instruments. This week’s convulsions in governance are the latest and scariest seismic readings that “she’s about to blow.”


How to Spread Ashes

December 18, 2018

I met up for coffee today with master raconteur McFinn. He produced a thick envelope and freed its contents. The main thrust was a document stating that his balance due was $0.00. (This is the kind of document I would like to see more of filling my in-tray.) This reminded me of a solemn event which took place some 25 years ago. I had suffered a basket of Brobdingnagian setbacks, and had been in debt to a long list of creditors. (Kind of like now.) With a bit of luck and determined assiduity I clawed my way back and paid off my numerous debts. One day I had a stack of statements declaring that my balance due was $0.00

I was dating a formidable lady named Claudia, who, like Robert Reich, packed lots of brains, wisdom and gravitas into a tiny frame. When informed of the stack of statements with identical “bal due $0.00” statistics, she said, here’s what we’re going to do. I was to do as I was told — isn’t that so often the case, guys? — and meet her at a particular location at Boeing Field. This is not the official Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) airport, but more of a community airport, where you go for flying lessons, to test your crime-fighting airships and so forth. She instructed me, in the parking lot, to produce the papers with the zeroes and to put them on the ground. She then took out a large fire-starter and ignited the pile. The fire burned a short while, and soon turned the paper into ash. She had me gather up as much of the ash as I could and to put it inside a fresh envelope. Then we went inside the office. I met our pilot, an attractive sort of athletic, caramel-haired woman I guessed to be Australian, and we followed her outside. We strapped the small plane to our backs and soon we were aloft. You must fly around Seattle in a small plane one day, as it is really stunning, what with Mt Rainier, Lake Union and Lake Washington, the San Juan Islands and loads of sturdy trees. The only flat spots are water. When we were comfortably over Lake Washington, I was told to empty the envelope out the window and to spread the ashes of my debt. After we landed, Claudia took me out to an excellent restaurant. I had tingles.



Smoked Salmon a la Douglass

December 14, 2018
Every year around this time, for the longest time, my dear friend Gary, the one who ended his life earlier this year, would smoke a batch of salmon. After he left the bartending game, where we formed our bonds in the 70’s, he became a cook on a fishing boat, and for years he cooked for crews fishing for salmon up in Alaska. He could always get fresh salmon, and of his incoming inventory he always smoked some in his home-make smoker in his backyard here in Bellingham. He had met my parents when they came out, and he liked them, and he wouldn’t let me go back east to visit during Christmas without taking some of his smoked salmon. When my parents picked me up at the airport, we had a well-scripted play to perform. At the front door, as I stood there exhausted from travel and holding a heavy suitcase, Dad’s hand with the key would pause inches from the front door lock. He’d look at me, “Well?”
I had to put down the suitcase, dig around for the buried treasure, and pull it out to show him; only at that point did he put the key in the lock and gain us entrance. There at the dinner table, in very few moments, my mother would have produced plates, knives, finely chopped onion, cream cheese, and the mini-bagels she preferred. I handed over the package of Gary’s salmon, and she performed the ritual transformation. Over the years we had decided that Gary always kept the salmon in the smoker too long, so instead of being soft and wonderful, it was dry and hard, like this smoked salmon I’m eating now. Mom would toss a handful of the smoked salmon into a mixer, add a glop of cream cheese and apply her magic. In a few minutes we had a fantastic smoked salmon spread, which was liberally slathered on bagels, and we drank bad wine and talked and talked and talked. Such wonderful times.

The Trump-O-Phile Cake

December 8, 2018

The hottest bakery business news is that over at Make America Gape Again Bakers, flying off the shelves is their newest cake. Confident that soon, all that Donald Trump supporters will be able to do is to send a cake with a file in it to the prison, with red icing that says: “Good Luck, Donnie!” The Trump-o-Phile cake allows beaten and broken trumpettes to assuage their guilt, in a minimally painful way. (Only $49.95 plus shipping, plus an unspecified penalty for making unwise choices.)