Doug and Doug

genuine- free from hypocrisy or dishonesty; sincere

There’s nothing special about Dougs. Dougs are almost the same as any Tom, Bob or Brian. You’ve got all types of Dougs, but it seems that all Dougs are one notch down from everyone else. The best looking Doug could never be as good looking as the best looking Tom. (Check out the Google photo search for Doug. Good grief! Is that Doug Henning on a rainbow?) The smartest Doug would never be as smart as the smartest Brian. But damnit, we’ve got a sense of humor. Dougs are funny. Dougs have personality. Dougs get the last girl at the party, but at least we are not jerking off at the end of the night like the Pauls and the Teds.

I was just flipping through some collections of Flickr photos. I searched for photos of Dougs. Again, mostly not especially good looking guys doing not especially interesting stuff.

But then I found a photo of a Doug that worked for the BBC. Doug had recently died. His friend, nanavut, memorialized him by saying the following:

“Doug Graham, a gentle soul sitting at the rear of this photo; a friend and colleague of mine and many others at the BBC died November 22nd, aged 26.
I remember him for his enthusiasm and positive outlook on life, no matter all the difficulties he himself suffered through. He knew how to see the bright side of everything.
Quick to make friends, genuine in his relationships, kind, and always full of positive energy - Doug taught me alot.
I hope you will remember him along with me.”

And I was sad for their loss. And his loss. And the passing of such a young person.

And then I realized that no one would ever describe me as being genuine. No one would remember me for my positive outlook on life and that I might know which side was the bright one.

And then I did a re-realization. I’m an awful bastard. A heartless ass. A real jerk.

And you know what? Thank God for that.

Thank God there’s someone to cross the line and joke about the awful thing you are thinking, but won’t say. Thank God there’s someone who can point out the bridesmaids that will be getting too drunk or that the first two pews are filled with four divorced couples. That funerals are the best places to laugh. And thank God there’s someone who can thank God knowing full well that he has no faith in His/Her existence. There is humor in everyday life and I want to exploit it to make myself feel better to forget my failings and endless doubt.

Which is good for you, my friend. Otherwise I’d be doing something good and positive instead of writing this.

So from the son of a bitch Doug to the genuine Doug Graham: You were surrounded by people that laughed with you, respected you and loved you. It wasn’t a long enough battle, but in the end you won. Thank you for sharing with me the opportunity to reflect upon my life.

Now, did they bury you in the wheel chair or did you get wheels put on the outside of the coffin?

Mystery Spot

Greg and I went to the Columbus Zoo on Christmas Eve day. It was the least crowded I had ever seen the Zoo. Both for people and animals. There were no crowds and only about 40% of the animals were out and visible. It was still fun to get Greg out and give Miss Sally time to wrap presents.

While we were at the zoo, we stopped in at Bob and Evelyn's Roadhouse in the Australia area. Bob and Evelyn's Roadhouse is the entry to the nocturnal animal building. Inside, there is a huge relief map of Australia on the wall that I built with my own two hands.

At the time, we were designing and constructing a large number of painted signs. Patrick, with Dragonfly Design, was using sign board for most of these signs. Signboard is a 4’x8’ sheet of treated plywood with a paper coating on one side. It’s a great surface for painting and can be made weatherproof. I decided it would be great for the Australia map.

I hung two 4’x 8’ sheets of the signboard on a wall and projected an image of Australia on them. I traced. It’s tough to trace a line from a ladder and most of the eastern coast was free handed when my body eclipsed the overhead projector. I took the sheets off the wall and jigsawed the Australia from the scrap.

I attached the two sheets to each other and got out a 1 gallon can of Bondo. Earlier I had asked Ray if I could use Bondo to make a relief map.  Ray said, "Oh yeah.  Bondo will stick to anything." For those of you who are not familiar with Bondo, it is normally used with car repair to fill in dents. It’s got a lot of other uses because it will stick to about anything. The plan was to lay down a coat of Bondo over the whole map to create texture and then apply more Bondo later to create the mountains.

Bondo will stick to about anything... except signboard. When I went in the next day to add mountains to the map, I noticed that the Bondo was flaking off in some spots. And then as I touched it, it peeled off in a lot more spots.  The paper side of signboard is too glossy and smooth to allow Bondo to stick. I told Ray this and Ray said, “Oh, you didn’t tell me you were applying it to signboard. It won’t stick to that.”

I chipped off all the Bondo (which actually did stick to some of the areas) and sanded the paper surface off the plywood. Re-applied Bondo. Let dry overnight. Go to Automotive store and buy more Bondo. Added mountains. More drying. Added bigger mountains. Sanded off the sharp points (points sharp enough to slice my hand several times.) Dragonfly Design painted the whole map and added borders, text and landmarks. We threw on some postcards and little plastic animals and hung the monstrosity in the nocturnal building. It is a thing of beauty.

What I have not mentioned was Allen’s idea to hide magnets in the map. During the Bondo phase, I drilled out three holes, filled them with rare earth magnets and covered them in Bondo. Dragonfly added the text “Mystery Spot” with an arrow.

As you can see, the magnets are strong enough to hold up my car keys.

For the time that creating the map took and all the sweat and blood and tears, I still love the Mystery Spot the most. It is a beautiful map, but because there is a simple, little secret that only a few people know about and even fewer will find on their own is such a wonderful treat.

**** *******
Author's note:

As a bonus, here is a photo of the DON'T ASK - NO WONKAS sign from a previous blog.

Spelling list

I have attached below a list of spelling atrocities that we've received from our guys in the field.

On the left is their spelling. On the right is the correct spelling. (At least what we thought they meant to say.) We started the list off with “fule” and squeezed the rest in.

I am not pointing the finger at anyone or assigning any kind of guilt. I, too, am a horrible speller. I am fortunate enough to be at a computer where I have beeping and red underlines to warn me when I am not using i before e. My guys in the field fill out their paper work in the dark after ten hours of work. They don't have time to get out the dictionary and check for the correct spelling of the word "pay."

As a matter of fact, you'll notice a few of the words have asterisk next to them. These are words I have misspelled as well. Especially mileage.

You will also notice that “definitely” has a double asterisk next to it. That is because as I added it to the list and incorrectly spelled it in the translation column. My co-workers noticed this and started a separate list of things I have spelled wrong while mocking others.

The words “rite” or “write” or “right” were used interchangeably and incorrectly so often that they were retired from the list after the first week.

The roll to clean-up ratio

It seems pretty late in the season for toilet papering, but that has not stopped the roaming gangs of teenagers in my neighborhood from raining down their hormone infused, single ply streams of terror.

The neighbor behind me got it two weeks ago and another down the street got it this weekend. It was probably a revenge papering. I’d imagine a teen could wake up one morning with a single sheet of TP in their bed from the neighborhood teen Don as a message to cut it out. Of course, the teenage guys would all ready have hundreds of crusty, crumpled sheets of tissue paper in their beds and wouldn’t notice.

I have three siblings, so our house got nailed a couple of times while we were in high school. I wasn’t exactly popular so the blame usually went to my sisters or older brother. I still had to help clean up. Our house would probably have been hit more often, but we lived way out in the middle of nowhere. Good for clandestine raids. Bad for the time and effort it took to get there.

But I know for sure that on one occasion our house got TP’d by a few of my admirers.

I woke up that Saturday morning without a hangover. I remember this because I wasn’t smart enough or possibly dumb enough to start drinking until late in my senior year. Dad directed me to look outside. The trees by the road had a nice coating of paper. They had not taken the time to work inwards towards the house. There wasn’t any additional material like shaving cream or malicious plastic forks in the lawn. Looked like a drive by TP'ing. Stick to the road, unload for a few minutes and drive off. Not a 100 roll job, but decent work. You could tell there were girls involved because they wrapped one of the tree trunks. Only girls would spend the time wrapping a tree trunk. A trunk wrap takes a longer time to apply, but it has a visual appeal. To the homeowner, or homeowner’s son, it only takes ten seconds to clean up. Not worth the roll to clean-up ratio that TP connoisseurs expect.

I grabbed some garbage bags and headed outside. About 45 minutes later I was done. All I needed was a rake and a stick to get most of it down. There was a smattering of paper still stuck in the higher branches, but you can never get it all.

Inside dad asked me a particularly loaded question, “What did you do to those girls to make them want to TP the house?”

Knowing this was a trap, I answered back with a question, “What girls?”

“The four girls that were here last night.”

Did he watch them from the window? How’d he know it was four girls? Did he invite them in for late night coffee?

The answer, without going through too many quotation marks, was that he counted them when the Sheriff brought them to the door.

A few of my female admirers schemed to TP my house. They had just gotten started when a Sheriff drove by. They all scattered, but in the middle of nowhere, it’s hard to scatter far without having to jump a fence or fall in a drainage ditch. The sheriff gathered them together and brought them to the front door. I was asleep, but dad wasn’t. He answered the door and the Sheriff explained that he caught the girls white handed. He wondered if dad wanted him to stay and help supervise the girls cleaning up their mess.

“No. Doug probably deserves it. He can clean it up in the morning.”

The girls were allowed to leave with repeated promises of reform.

At school the next Monday, the girls laughed and laughed and laughed. They said that when my dad lofted the “deserves it” line, they all chimed in with stories about me TP'ing them and that I did deserve it.

When Greg turns 16, he and I are going to load up the 2012 Honda Goya with 1000 rolls of TP and travel the country tracking down those four girls. We’ll show them what for.


No tree wrapping for us.

British Christmas Card

A few years ago, Sally's good friend Dana was dating a British guy. We piled on the standard British jokes. She took it all in stride. That Christmas (before she dumped the bloke) she sent us this card (I cut and pasted the inside on to the bottom of the outside.)

As a bonus, here is Dana and me at a Holloween party a few months before the Christmas card. We were putting Rolos on our teeth and talking in British accents.

As a Super Bonus, here is Miss Sally wearing the Superman costume that I wore this year (with Super Extra Bonus Top and Bottom Comparison) That is also John as The Hulk.

My effect on people

I am not that bad of a person. Sometimes I come off that way. Many who only know me from social situations would never guess that I am a caring husband and responsible father when I am at home and not out drinking. I think my greatest attribute is my ability to find the perfect moment to quickly say something which to others is witty, but to the receiver of said wit, is grating and offensive.

Here's an example with photographic evidence:

The following photo was taken at Carl and Toni's wedding. You've got (L to R) Miss Sally, Beth, Dana and Leslie. It was taken by Dana's husband, Rod.

Off camera to the left of Rod, is me. Back a little. (You'll be able to figure out the trajectory in just a moment.)

I cannot remember exactly what I said, but it was to Dana and Rod took this second photo right after I said it.

You can see from the photo that three of the four people in the photo found what I said to be amusing.

I sometimes think to myself, is being egotistical, self absorbed and selfish such a bad thing? I can answer only as one with those qualities can: of course it isn't such a bad thing... for me.

I end with the timeless words of Dana's grandfather Mike, "I love me. Who do you love?"

Apron and Bra

Remember the good old days when an apron and a bra were the same thing?

Money Gram Directions

Hello Scammer!

I have your IP address as well as the location of the computer you are using.

The authorities have been notified.

Have a good day!



I think I made a mistake by giving my co-workers my blog site address. I had to share the video our boss made. It was easier to give them this address than search through the 12,328 hits for Santa and Letter on YouTube.

Now they will know when I've been out (last night,) what I was doing (drinking, darts and Skully's) and that I will be late into the office due to something besides the malaria I've contracted 16 times this year.

What that does give me is the opportunity to communicate to the office without having to use that pesky e-mail technology.

Hey Team,

Please let Lori know that I will be in by 10:00am. The malaria medicine is kicking in. Where are we going for lunch today?



Do you have a friend that owns their own business or is an entrepreneur? Or do you have the friend who comes up with crazy ideas and says that they are going to make a lot of money as they try to combine a cork screw with a garage door opener?

Somehow, I have both. And they are the same person.

My boss is a partner in our company. He can talk the pants off a Mennonite and sell them to a quadriplegic. Because his accent is a combination between Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rico Suave, he is able to charm both men and women alike. He knows thousands of people in the industry and they can’t forget him.

My boss also gets some really insane ideas which, in his mind, cannot fail. Like opening a Halloween haunted house. Sure, a haunted house can make some heavy change. But come on. Just because someone else is making money at something does not mean that you can jump right in and do the same. Most haunted houses start off as haunted apartments and work their way up.

He recently had another brainstorm. And this time he went through with it.

You go to the website, input your kid’s name and city, and pay them $6. (That is very cheap, claims my boss.) Later (hopefully before Christmas) a letter arrives with Santa’s signature suggesting he’ll be stopping by your house in ANYTOWN, USA to drop off gifts.

It is cheaper than the other Santa letters out there, so he’s got a point. He knows a mass mailer that is taking care of the website, printing and postage. All he has to do is sit back and wait for that Santa dough to start rolling in.

Or he could make a video for YouTube.

I’m not sure if this is an advertisement or the beginnings of a snuff film.

That is Shorty you hear laughing in the background.

Merry Chri$tmas!

Happy Birthday John

Here's to another year. Some of John birthdays from the past.




Ohio State v. Florida

I don’t know much about sports. I do like to watch. I like to drink and get excited when Ohio State does well. I wear a Detroit Tigers hat, but couldn’t tell you anyone on their team in the past 10 years (except I remember Alan Trammel from Nintendo RBI Baseball.) Basically, I end up at a sporting event to drink or eat wings. The rest is just the heel on the loaf of bread.

But all of a sudden, I have an opinion. Everyone else does too, but mine is right.

The BCS is flawed. It is flawed because there is human input into it. If it were all stats and wins and losses, it would be too mechanical. If it were all human input, it would probably go down to the teams with the most revenue potential. The BCS tries to be a little of both and seems to be about 75% right, 1/3rd of the time. But, we don’t have a playoff system and the BCS is the stepuncle that we have to go to the zoo with.

What’s my opinion? It’s great that the BCS is flawed.

Today, coaches and sporticos will use their human judgment and vote for Florida. Michigan will cry and pout and point fingers and use the word “shoulda” a hundred times, but they would do the same thing if they were in Ohio State’s 12-0 shoes. No one, except everyone in Michigan, wants to see a replay. No one wants to see a team that came in second in the Big Ten go to the championship. And no one wants to see a possible Michigan win create a one to one tie. Fortunately, the system is flawed and because of that flaw, we will get an unflawed decision.

Florida (from what other people tell me I should believe) had a pretty tough schedule. They won their division. They have better uniforms than Michigan. I can’t see why they shouldn’t play Ohio State.

My prediction: lots of bitching and moaning from the team up north. And an Ohio State win vs Florida in the 2006 National Championship: 38 – 20.

Suck it, BCS. Suck it, Michigan.

Big Race Today!