Two Teeth

I have many teeth and at one time I had many cavities, but they are now drilled out and filled with silver stuff (older) and kinda white stuff (newer.) You would think that someone in my position would avoid the dentist unless it was completely necessary. But you know me and on two occasions I have been to the dentist (Well, once. The one guy wasn’t a dentist) when I didn’t have to be there and still had my teeth worked on. We’ll break this up into two parts called “Drilling for Dollars” and “Binaural Audio.”

Drilling for Dollars
Years and years ago I got a call from a friend. We’ll call him Mr. T. And now you have a big, black guy with gold chains stuck in your head. Think the polar opposite… skinny, white, red-head dude that’s pushing six feet tall. Mr. T was taking his dental exam so that he could become a full-fledged dentist. I think there are three parts to the test and he had passed two of them. He needed to pass the third test which was drilling and filling a cavity. Seeing as that I am always willing to help a friend and that I usually have a spare cavity, I agreed. I felt I could be my friend’s gateway into a profitable dental career. Mr. T took me in to have a bunch of x-rays taken so that he could send them in to the board and have me OK’d as a patient. Sadly, the cavity I had was not perfect and Mr.T had to work the x-ray machine like a professional photographer. At the end of the day my face was glowing and he had the perfect shot. It was almost like a reverse internet profile photo where ugly people take odd angles to get the best photo. He was taking multiple angles to make the cavity look as bad as possible.

A few weeks later, Mr. T and I drove up to Cleveland for the test. We went up on Friday for the test on Saturday. We were able to sleep in because people would be taking the first 2/3rds of the test and the cavity filling was the last part.

But we showed up and the testing area was nearly empty. Upon questioning the staff that was there, they said that Mr. T needed to be there three hours ago for the start of the test. There was a good bit of nail biting and in the end, they said we could still jump in and take the test.

I was stuck in the chair. Numbed. And drilled. Mr. T was sweating bullets. Because everyone had finished the test and moved on, the people that oversaw the test and were normally were spread out across the room had nothing better to do than stand a few feet away and wait for this asshole that showed up three hours late to finish his test.

Mr. T was asked to leave and three dudes looked over the new hole in my face. Mr. T was then called back in and given the opportunity to fill my hole with silvery goodness. He did. The three old men came back and checked out the filling. Mr. T asked me to listen in on what they said. I couldn't make heads or tails of what they were discussing.

We left the test and Mr. T was sure he failed.

But he didn’t! My cavity was the finish line to his schooling or perhaps the starting gate to his dentist license. Mr. T probably thinks of my every time he fills a cavity, drives his Porsche or towels off with a sheet of twenty dollar bills.

Binaural Audio
In 1999, Stu started working in our division and my eyes were opened to what reckless creativity can spawn. Stu is like no other person I have ever met and you would be lucky just to know someone who knows a guy like Stu.

Stu was very interested in an exhibit we had previously built that used binaural audio or 3D sound. The basis of the technology is that audio is recorded with two microphones spaced a head’s width apart. When that recorded audio is played through separate headphone sides, the audio can feel like it is happening to you. If you have a set of headphones, I recommend listening to this painfully long youtube video.

Stu and I discussed what would be the best 3D audio. We came up with some really great ideas. We took the microphones out and recorded all sorts of crap including creepy guy sneaking up on you in an alley, creepy guy breathing in your ear and dude shooting arrows at your head. We then discussed an evil sort of voice that would sound like it was coming from behind the listener. The voice would tell the person to look up and when they did they would see little glowing eyes in the dark recesses of the ceiling. We were 3D audio geniuses.

The best idea to delight and terrify our guests was the idea to record audio of someone getting dental work done. We asked around and no one had a dental appointment coming up (or they just flat out lied because they wanted nothing to do with us.) So finally I volunteered. I called up Mr. T who was now DDS T. I told him about the recording and that I’d need some type of work done. He at least agreed to see us.

We ran over to his dentist office the next day. I got in the chair and Stu put the microphones on either side of my head. DDS T looked around in my mouth and, for once, didn’t see any work that needed done. He had me chew on some mimeograph paper and found a high spot on one of my teeth. He asked if I wanted it ground down. Yes, yes I do want my teeth ground down.

As DDS T worked, Stu had him move the drill around and make noise in both of the microphones. He drilled and smoothed and slapped me on the ass and told me to keep flossing, knowing that I hadn’t touched the waxed stuff in ages.

So, you ask me, “Doug, where can I hear this wonderful audio?” And I say to you, “You can’t.”

Why? Because we got really busy, that’s why. All that audio needed edited down and we had other shit to do. In the end, time ran out and we used the pre-packaged audio that we had purchased in the first palace. Years later, I asked Stu where the custom audio was. He didn’t know. He’d quit and moved on. I poked around, but never found the tapes.

Last week I went into my dentist’s office. There was a filling in my mouth that wasn’t holding up and it needed drilled out and re-filled. Once I realized it, I told my dentist that it was the one that the once Mr. T had earned his license on. My dentist laughed as he drilled it out and then refilled it with whitish stuff.

Broken Radio?

Here's a photo from John and Beckah. As they were driving, they saw this dude in the car next to them.

It's hard to tell, but the dude is wearing a harmonica rack and is playing away on his harmonica.

I assumed his radio was broken, but now I think he might have just been playing along.

You Are Starting to Piss Me Off Home Depot

I hate the visceral feeling of regret you get when something starts going downhill and you can either ride the out of control wagon to the bitter end or jump out and climb back up the hill looking for a smoother ride.

I stayed on the wagon. I'm still heading downhill.

Miss Sally and I want an new sliding glass door. We went to our stand-by, Lowes, but they had a poor display and not much help with doors. We went to Home Depot and they had a much better layout and a desk with a very helpful dude. We picked what door we wanted and scheduled to have our existing door measured.

The customer service up to this point was great. We got a call that they installers would be out to measure and we got a call when they were done. In the second call, we were given a bit of bad news. Our existing opening was one inch too large for the door we picked. The woman said that instead of the $650 we picked out that there was an $1150 door in stock that would fit our opening. When I started to balk about the difference in price, she said something to the effect of, "Well, we've got a $350 door. You want that one?" I said I would have to come in and make a decision.

A few days later had me at Home Depot again and the door person was at lunch. The substitute person looked up my account and said that he could not help me and asked if I wanted to wait. I did not and left.

I got another call from Home Depot asking me if I had made a decision about my door. I said that we still liked out first door and wondered what a custom door one inch larger would cost. She looked it up and said $1300. Once I finish shitting my pants, I told her that was out and that I'd need to discuss the door with my wife.

During work this week, I mentioned the door to Erik and he said, "Why can't they just shim the door in 1/2" on each side? Those doors never fit perfectly in the openings." I told Erik he was very smart and planned to go in on Saturday.

Today I decided to be sneaky and headed over to another Home Depot. Just like the first store, the sales person was very helpful. I asked about my model of door and if it could be shimmed in on either side. He said yes, no problem. When he tried to pull my account up, he came up blank. It turns out that the installers are local to each store and they other Home Depot could not fulfill my order. I said thanks to the sales person and armed with this shimming knowledge I went back to the original Home Depot.

At the store, sales person pulls up my order. I ask about shimming. He leave for ten minutes and comes back to say that he can't help me on a Saturday and that I will need to come back Monday when the installers are available.

Fucking fine.

I left.

Here is my beef: When Home Depot called me originally to tell me about my measurement, they should have just said that they would have to shim it in. Instead she tried to get me to buy something $500 more expensive. I also can't see why they do not have someone around on the weekends who might have a clue about installations.

Now you might be asking, "Why haven't you jumped off the wagon?"

Because of $30. The measurement cost $30 and it is taken off of the final cost if you do go through with the installation. Now all of you that know me know where my dollar limit is and can manipulate me as such.

I'll let you know how things go AFTER Monday when they have someone in that can help.

How to Tell if a Woman is Crazy

Despite what you may believe, most women are not crazy. In fact, they probably have their shit together more than you. But for those of you who do find yourself in a situation with a woman who you think might be a whack job, here's how you can tell.

1. Hair past her ass

Super long hair is a dead giveaway. Either she's a religious nut or just has WAY too much time to wash and dry it. No woman should spend that much time on her hair just to straighten out the split ends. And nothing says stay away like a six foot long, fat-ass braid. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if she can strangle you with it, it's too long.

2. Wants sex all the time
Every guy dreams about it, but you never hear about anyone surviving it. 98% of sex is convincing a woman to sleep with your unhealthy, hairy ass. If she wants it all the time, it's no longer a challenge, and you stop wanting it. Then she starts to accuse you of cheating, shortly after which comes the Phil Hartman afternoon dirt nap.

3. Crazy Eyes or never blinks
If you can see the entire pupil plus a good bit of white around it, she's crazy. If she doesn't ever blink, that's not right. If she blinks all the time, that's just as screwed up. It’s sexy if one eye is a different color, but if she has a glass eye with no pupil, check her for a knife and duck out the back door.

4. Talks about husband in the past tense
It's a good idea to stay away from married women. It's a really good idea to get as far away as possible from soon-to-be widows.

5. Doesn't talk
You may think it is sexy for a woman at a party to stare you down across the room, walk over and grab your hand, lead you to an empty bedroom and blow you. I guarantee the reason she is not talking is because she doesn't have any teeth or she doesn't have any vagina. Trust me, most transgender dudes don't have much to say... on the first date.

6. Smokes Capris
Trust me. Crazy.

7. She's Conservative
No woman should be Conservative. It just ain't right. Conservative woman have to be subservient to their husbands, and no woman should have to do that. Let's face it, you'd have to be completely fucking crazy to let a man run your life.

8. Has kids, but never mentions them
Every non-crazy woman is in love with her kids. A cheating woman will still lie in bed with her cheat and talk about her kids. If a woman is silent about her kids, it's because her brakes are about to fail near a river. Avoid.

9. Drinks vodka tonic without tonic
I like a woman that drinks. I don't like a woman that can drink more than me. If she's drinking straight from a bottle, you'd best stay away. Also be on the lookout for any woman who has a whole box of wine in the fridge and is brewing beer in a bag in the basement.

10. Laughs. All the time.
Most funny women are at least half-crazy. Women shouldn't have to tell jokes to get attention because they have boobs for that. If a woman tells jokes to get laughs, she's mostly crazy. If all she does is laugh and especially in a barking laugh, she's just plain crazy. But now that I think about it, I'd rather deal with a crazy woman than a half crazy one. At least with a crazy woman, you know what you're getting into. There's something to be said for predictability.

11. She looks like this:

RollerCoaster Tycoon Life Lessons

I pulled out our dusty copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon about a year ago and Greg and I play on and off. Recently, Greg, who just turned seven, has really been getting into it. I sometimes need to help him figure out how to reach goals and maximize profits so that he can complete a level. We both love it when you do complete a level because all the park guests all turn to you, let go of their balloons and cheer.

One day, he was playing at the kitchen table and asked for help. One method to determine how well you are playing is to look at a list of all the rides and booths in the park and sort them by profit. By knowing what isn't profitable, you can change prices accordingly or tear down a ride to build another.

At the bottom of Greg's long list of rides and booths was a very lengthy segment of Balloon Stands that were all losing money. There must have been twenty Balloon Stands.

I said, "What are you doing with all those Balloon Stands? It isn't profitable! How much are you charging?"

And Greg replied, "I'm giving them away for free."

"You are not going to make any money doing that."

Greg said, "I know, but when I do win everyone will have a balloon to let go of and the sky will be filled with them."

I don't know why, but I got a lump in my throat and had to turn away.

Double Coffee

We make our own coffee at work. We are not allowed to have coffee makers because many of us are too stupid to pull the 1/4 full pot off the warmer and smoke detectors end up going off at 2:00am. So instead, we use a single cup maker machine or we use the Lady Johnson* (single filter) w/ hot water method.

Lady Johnson with cup underneath.

We use this to heat the water. Love it.

Today I decided that I wanted a good stiff cup of coffee. Usually, I would double the amount of coffee that I put in the filter, but I thought I would try something different. Today I went for double coffee.

Here were my tools:

Coffee. Large cup from Video conference. Two filters. Two Lady Johnsons*.

Because regular coffee making has been banned, we have a shit ton of regular filters leftover from days of yore. You can cram a regular sized filter in a Lady Johnson, but it does not fit very well.

So I fold it in quarters and it fits perfectly.
Fold once...

Fold twice.

This fit is very nice.

I folded up two filters, filled them with coffee and then stacked them.

As you can see, this does not look very stable. Luckily, I had the coffee can and some post-its from the local CBS affiliate to add support.

And then I added the hot water and voilĂ  !

The final product was delicious. It seemed stronger than just doubling the grounds. I might have to try this again!

*We call this device the "Lady Johnson" because years ago there used to be a product with the same name. It was a funnel that was shaped to fit a woman's pee-pee area place and could be used during camping so the woman would not need to squat to pee. I cannot find the Lady Johnson anywhere on the internet, but you can sometime find it under the name "Camper's Friend."

Free Tars

This photo was attached to a Craigslist posting that is sadly not available anymore.

Now I can't stop saying, "Tars" in a Southern Ohio accent.

Thanks to @jeffisbiking from Twitter!

Ask HolyJuan: Neighbors Park on Our Side of the Street

Dear Holy Juan,

I have a little dilemma that needs to be handled with tact.

Our new neighbors keep parking their car in front of our house. We both have garages. We both have driveways. We both have the same amount of curb space. But they put their car in front of our house. They park in such a way that it takes up the space where two cars could fit. Of course, it also blocks our view, and our guests are forced to park far away.

Well, of course, our guests could park in front of their house. I've told a few friends to do this. They said our neighbors were outside at the time and glared at them as they got out of the car and walked over to our house.

I don't know what action to take. I thought of leaving a note, but I don't know what to say.

These neighbors are new to this country, and they kind of keep to themselves. I don't want to cause offense. I just want them to move their car!

--- Kristen

Dear --- Kristen,

I have a plan.

I’m assuming that your new neighbors are French because they sound like real assholes.

You may want a pen to write this down. Or I guess you could just print it.

First, you will need to get a cat. If you have one, great. If you do not, even better because cats are horrible pets. I have two and I would give you both of them for this if I had the chance. So if you do not have a cat, borrow one.

Now, you are going to need to find a dead cat that looks like your cat / your borrowed cat. They are all over the place so just get a cooler, some dry ice and put the dead cat in the cooler for transportation back to your freezer. Make sure it’s really dead or you’ll be really mad at yourself when that little fucker leaps out of the cooler and tears your eyes out.

Next, you’ll want to go to the neighbor’s house with the live cat in hand. Knock on the door and tell them that you saw them almost run over your cat when they parked in front of your house. Ask them if they would park on their side to avoid killing your cat. At this point, if they truly are French, they will ignore you.

The next time they park in your spot, thaw out the dead cat in the microwave (you may want to put some paper towels down) and then put the dead cat under their front wheel. Make sure you take lots of photos. Then go to their door and accuse them of killing your cat.

When they go to examine the dead cat, hit the red button on the remote control that detonates the explosive charge that you hid inside the dead cat’s body. Hopefully you’ll have used enough C4 to both kill the car owner and blow the car over on to their side of the street.

My work here is done.

Best of luck with the Frenchies!


Erik Eats: Whistle Candy - The Sound and the Tasty

This week, Erik delves into both music and deliciousness. This edition of Erik Eats presents the holiness that is CORIS Whistle Candy.

It looks like a bunch of Life Savers with a box, but we have been fooled before, so we'll take this step by step.

Erik asks, how do I open it?

Use the easy open corner tab!

Erik uses to easy open corner tab and reveals the white roundness inside.

There is a box inside and so Erik opens it to reveal...

A Ring! A real plastic fake ring!

Erik is overcome with emotion and decides in the spur of the moment to propose to Josh.

While Josh was also overtaken by emotion, he had to turn Erik down as Josh is married to the stage and the stage is already screwing Josh and she does not take kindly to cheaters.

Erik found poor Kim and pretended like she was actually his first pick.

She shot him down and Erik was sad.

But then Erik realized there was only one other person out there in the big empty that was good enough for Erik.

He said YES!

After they consummated the moment, we got back to the candy.

The candy is a bit lighter in weight and fatter in size than life savers. There must be something going on inside.

We got out the blade and started choppin'.

They are hollow! Maybe this is what the whistle part of whistle candy is all about.

Before consuming this hollow treat, Erik tries to get it to whistle.

What this doesn't show is that five minutes later I tried one of the candies and whistled loudly enough to have the marketing folks crawl out of their Luxury Suite Cubicles and ask us what the fuck we were doing.

And then it was time for the tasting. Erik eats...


It's good!

Next week: boiled goat num num nums.


Years ago, Taco Bell ran a series of commercials in which two guys would say "Zesty!" back and forth to each other in various, different inflections. There were only two people on Earth (besides the two actors this ad employed) that enjoyed these commercials.

Those two people were Dave and me.

With the advent of YouTube, we thought that someday we'd be able to watch these videos at our leisure. But since we are the only two people who liked the commercials, no one has bothered to post them.

And so we wait.

But until then, whenever someone in a conversation says the word "zesty," I immediately step all over the rest of their sentence, jump in and say "ZESTY!!"

Dave sent me this photo because he, too, waits.

If you have seen the video on-line, please let us know.

Hidden Word

Can you find the hidden word in this color blind test pattern?

(scroll down for answer)
The hidden word is GULLIBLE.

Top Ten Most Stupid Conflicts

While the United States Invasion of Iraq was pretty stupid, it is not in the Top Ten of Most Stupid Conflicts. They are:

10. The Salisbury Steak War of 1949
9. Fredrickson and Lewis Picket Fence Property Line Dispute of 2003
8. Kramer v Kramer 1979
7. Ohio University Panty Raid, Martzolf House, September 24th – October 8th 1990
6. The Franchise War 2015 – 2030 (Taco Bell victorious)
5. The British Invasion 1964 to 1966
4. Coke v Pepsi 1903 – ongoing
3. The Four Day Invasion of Bob’s Bar
2. War on Drugs 1971 – 2009
1. Boxers v Briefs (Death toll: 16,345,398)

The Last Bolt

For years, I have kept a backlog of stories and anecdotes in the steel reinforced folds of the back of my brain. It is the place where my beliefs and certain truths hang out along with the fog of bad memories that can’t or shouldn’t be forgotten. Many of these sayings were put there by my father. Whenever I come upon and instance that cannot be undone or a tough problem that needs solved, I reach back there and pull one out to explain the situation away or to get me working on the task. Sayings like, “You can’t get all the oil out of an oil can,” and “Make potato salad chunky so that people can pick out what they don’t like.”

One of these certain truths is “It’s the last bolt that always sticks.” It is a saying that is part Murphy’s Law and part Bad Luck that has cursed my family for years. Or at least it did until a few weeks ago.

The summer break before my junior year of college had me living at home, roofing during the weekdays and going out just about every night. On this particular Saturday morning, I woke up from four hours of sleep with a bit of a hangover. Dad was calling for me to get dressed and ready to go. Sitting mostly up in bed, I remembered that Dad’s 1987 Reliant wagon had broken down on the 270 outer belt in Columbus and we needed to go up and fix it. I was needed as monkey boy and to drive the second car back.

As we drove up to Columbus, Dad explained that the alternator had been going out and it finally gave up on his way home from work on Friday afternoon. After he called mom to pick him up, he called the Columbus City Police to tell them he’d be back up the next morning to get the station wagon. They said they would not tow it.

To get to the station wagon, we had to drive past it on the opposite side of the road and loop back around at an exit. We parked and got the tools out. I stood around and half listened as Dad spoke of car engines in Korea and how back in World War 2 “the Japanese were awful bastards” and “they were smaller and would shoot you in the knees.” It was then that the family curse snuck up on us again. There were four bolts that held the alternator in place. And just like the last bolt or last screw or the last nut from times before, the last bolt was stuck. Dad applied force and more force. He Liquid Wrenched and tapped. He bruised the back of his hands and split his knuckles open. He pleaded and cursed. He went so far as to have me try to remove it. The last bolt was stuck. So we stood on the side of the road, taking turns at giving it one more try with dad lamenting, “Why does it always have to be the last bolt?”

And then, with a crack , Dad freed the stubborn last bolt.

And in that split second, the world was good and everything was going to be all right.

We took the part to a dealership and Dad asked how much a replacement would be. He laughed at the lady though the window, “You’ve got to be kidding?” The dealership cost was four times what it cost at the parts store in Lancaster. Dad was outraged! Dad was also not in a place to bargain. He paid for it and we left. In the car he said that he would install the new alternator, go back to Lancaster and buy a cheaper replacement and then return the expensive one back to the dealership. Clever!

As we drove past the broken down car for the second time that day, we couldn’t help but notice that this time the car’s front end was elevated and attached to a City of Columbus tow truck. Dad tried to roll down the window and yell, “No! No! No!” but at 65 mph it was impossible. We zoomed up and over the exit with dad’s incredulous mutterings filling the car with rage. By the time we reached the spot, all of the tow truck and most the station wagon were gone. We had left the nuts, bolts and tools sitting on top of the engine and some escaped through the bottom of the engine with the help of gravity when the tow truck pulled away. The parts lie there on the side of the road like a police outline of a dead body. The others were probably leaving a trail, like bread crumbs, around 270 and to the impound lot.

Dad was so enraged that he could not speak or yell. I didn’t say anything for fear of giving his anger purchase. Without a word he drove to a phone booth and called the police. They said there was nothing they could do, pick your car up from the impound lot and have a nice day.

We drove to the impound lot and paid for the car’s release and several fees. Dad mentioned that we needed to put a part in the car and the lady said that no work was allowed to be done on the lot and that we would have to pay to have the car towed off the lot and to the side of the road. Dad said, “Oh… no thanks. We’ll just drive it off and repair it.” As we walked out, I said that couldn’t drive it without repairing it. Dad flatly smiled, “We’ll see about that.”

Dad marched alone into the lot with a wrench and the new alternator, his pockets clunking with the escaped nuts and bolts.

And somehow, in less than eight minutes, he drove the mostly functional station wagon around to the parking lot. By some means, using the remaining parts and tools that had remained in cracks and crevices of the engine, he got the alternator partially installed, slapped on the belt and tightened it enough to get to the lot.

He spent a few minutes tightening the existing bolts and re-adjusting the belt. “That will be enough to get us home. Follow me.” And then we drove off separately together.

Fast forward (or go back in time) to three weeks ago. In a conversation with my sister concerning the welfare of my father and the deteriorating state of the home we grew up in, I had a revelation. The fourth bolt is NOT the one that always sticks. Sure it’s got a 1 in 4 chance of being the stickiest, but it’s usually not. What happens is that when I come upon something that creates a road block, I save it for last and do the easy things first. It might be subconscious, but in this case, if the first bolt sticks, I’d move on to the second. When I get back around to the first bolt, it is no longer the sticky first, but The Last Bolt.

And the curse was lifted.

There will still be sticky bolts in my future, but I cannot allow myself to think that it’s The Last Bolt or there by fate. When I come upon something difficult, I need to face it head on instead of moving on to the easier tasks.

These writings are not a backlash upon my father or his faults. He has taught us valuable lessons and shared with us endless stories (not all of them involving war and death) that have crafted me into the person I am today. But he has faults and it is time that I started to recognize these. By recognizing them, I can see them in myself and correct them before my children become engrained with them. From this story alone, there are several instances:

If you know a car part is going bad, don’t wait until it breaks before you fix it. The same goes for teeth and internal organs.

Get all the necessary parts together before you start a project. If you don’t know what parts, ask.

Be patient and follow directions. (That can of Liquid Wrench said to wait twenty minutes to allow it to work. Just about the same amount of time we hopelessly worked on the bolt.)

Cockamamie schemes cost time and money (Dad never returned to the dealership to return the high priced alternator.)

So before you leave these writings with a heavy heart, let me remind you that Dad never gave up. As much as it is a fault, he wanted to take care of his problems himself. When he was told he couldn’t work on the car at the impound lot, he bucked the system and fixed it. Proud and stubborn are strengths as much as they are flaws.

I still keep a backlog of sayings. My new one is, “Do your difficult homework first,” which I will impress upon my son and daughter through word and by deed. It sits right in front of “Last Bolt” which has since been un-fogged and reclassified as a good memory.