The Problem With Probing

Other day I’m pulling weeds from the sidewalk when of all people, my pal Raddy — Radicchio R. Peggio, Jr. – cruises up on his bike for a socially distanced visit in the driveway.

A man of the world, Raddy grew up in the cockpits of his father’s post-WW II airline (Air Hellair), traveling extensively through France, the British Isles, Scandinavia, etc. Raddy Sr. made a fortune when he sold the airline to Aer Lingus, leaving the only offspring he ever acknowledged as his own in admirable financial shape. Raddy’s never had to work, but he’s always looking for An Angle, and he loves to talk about it.

“Got something cooking,” he tells me, in confidential tones.

Sure hope it’s better than your bird brain brainstorm.

“You remember that!  No, this is much more down-to-earth. (Ha ha! See what I did there?) This idea comes to me just last week when I’m in CVS for a covid-19 test. I sit down, answer some questions, and they hand me this javelin with a cotton tip that they tell me to stick up my nose ‘til it punctures my brain.”

Yikes. Did you bend the javelin?

“Funny. I do that in each nostril, then hand back the two probes. They remove the cotton swabs, drop ‘em in a sealed bag, and tell me they’ll text my results in a day or two.”

Do you get to keep the javelins? Might come in handy at your next fondue party.

“Um, no. But here’s what occurs to me. Who actually performs the test? Me! All they do is issue instructions and process results. Me — I’m both patient AND technician! CVS doesn’t hire anybody to conduct testing, they just tell the patient what to do.”

Sort of like pumping your own gas, except for the credit card. And octane.

“So I’m thinking, Why not develop a business plan that uses this reduced medical personnel model in other specialties? Gynecology, for example.”

Why doesn’t it surprise me that this is the first one you think of?

“So for a routine exam, the patient reviews her records with the medical staff, who then hands her the spatula…

I think the term is “speculum.”

“Yes, whatever, and the patient inserts it herself as instructed, then returns it for processing. Results arrive a few days later!”

Raddy, it’s not just a matter of stuffing it in. The doctor needs to actually look and feel. Are you confusing a speculum with a dildo?

“The other obvious application would be the proctologist,” he enthusiastically continues. (Raddy’s not known as a listener. It’s part of his charm.) “Why pay a medical staffer to conduct a prostate exam or explore for hanging chads…..”

Oh my god. You mean hemorrhoids?”

“Yes, them. Piles, Lashings. Gobs. Point being there’s no need for additional staff when the patient can conduct his own supervised probe!”

I can’t be sure, Raddy, but I suspect in matters like these, your average patient would prefer having a trained professional on the northern end of the device.

“No doubt, but times change and people adjust. To use your own example, there was a time when it was unthinkable that a driver would pump his own gas. Remember Atlantic Red Ball Service? Pump your gas, wash your windows, offer to check the air pressure or your gas was free? Attendants called it Busted Balls Service. Go ahead and find anything like that in the 21st century.

“Besides,” (he goes on. Doesn’t he?) “People don’t trust their doctors and medical staff as much anymore. They’d rather do it themselves. And the lawyers will love it because their clients the doctors are a step removed from responsibility. Win-win!”

Okay. So where do you go from here?

Raddy shrugs. “Well, I need a medical engineer to help redesign equipment for self-use. And I’ll have to hire a marketing pro to help me promote. I might start by opening a stand-alone self-exam clinic on my own first, until the concept catches on. Which means I’ll need financial backing – one thing my dad taught me was Never risk your own money. That’s what banks are for, and in a worst-case scenario, you can screw them over, like Donald Trump.”

Donald who? Name sounds familiar. What’s your timeline? When do you start?

Another shrug. “Well, it’s close to cocktail hour, but maybe right after.”

Raddy, for you it’s always cocktail hour.

Big smile. “Yes! One thing I learned in the cockpit, winging through time zones. It’s always cocktail hour, because it’s 9:00 AM somewhere.” He gives me a big smile and a salute. “Stay safe!” And pedals off.

Worry not, dear readers: this idea, like all of Raddy’s schemes, will come to naught. I doubt he’ll get as far as even the equipment design stage, and in the unlikely event he does, that’ll just make him the proud owner of schematics for unique sex toys.

Which, come to think of it, is probably a more viable business for him anyway.

Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 8 Comments

A Shot in the Park

We come to learn that one need not be a resident of the Gunshine State to obtain a vaccination here, one only needs to produce evidence of senior status (65+). What a golden opportunity for out-of-work travel agents!

Here’s the deal. An enterprising agent establishes herself as a Vaccination Tourist Host, and arranges for package deals where out-of-staters (including international guests) are brought into the state, lodged in local hotels or AB&Bs, and driven to local vaccination sites to wait in line.

Sweeten the deal with special rates pre-arranged with lodging venues (and take a cut, of course), and of course with restaurants providing discount coupons for take-out service and outdoor dining.

No need to disclose in advance to customers that they might wait in line for hours, and even then not score. By then, the Host has cashed the check. While this might make guests a trifle grumpy, remember, they’re senior (non-)citizens anyway, so they’ve been grumpy for years.

This is less expensive than making generous charitable donations to a medical facility, a practice that those noble health care providers have rewarded by inviting their major donors to skip the wait, jump the line, and come in for treatment before everybody else. Gotta protect your revenue sources! Bidness is bidness!

Sounds like just the sort of thing that makes Florida the free-enterprise, right-to-work, fly-by-night scam center of the nation. Given his Medicare fraud experience, former governor now Senator Dickwithears would heartily approve.

If you’re shocked and appalled you probably labor under the delusion that covid-19 vaccination is a matter of public health and safety. That’s adorable. In fact, it’s a business like everything else – voter registration, national security, public education, and picking up the trash. Welcome to America, where the opposite of wrong is poor.

Out of state? Reserve today!

Posted in News From the Nation's Dicktip | 10 Comments

Testing, Testing 1-2-3

Readers Digest version: one of Guido’s clients was exposed to COVID-19, so Guido quickly arranged for a test at a Memorial Urgent Care.

Result: “Not Detected.”

It goes on to explain that “Not Detected” isn’t the same as “Negative,” because it “doesn’t preclude infection, and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or other patient management decisions.” The only appearance of the word “negative” is when the document references a “false negative result.”

In sum, this test is completely worthless. We don’t know anything more after getting the results than we know before. She didn’t test negative or positive — but that was true before she was tested!

This useless weasel-worded report does nothing but earn the Memorial Health Care system Medicare dollars.

Shortly after reading and re-reading this ass-covering prose, Guido fields an automated message from Memorial saying test results indicated no presence of the SARS-CoV-2. Doesn’t that sound like it should be “negative?” So why not SAY “negative?”

Guido calls Memorial and to sum it up, they won’t say she’s negative, only that no virus was detected. I want to know how this maddening policy helps the poor slob who can’t go back to work until he or she tests negative.

It’s mind-numbingly infuriating how botched and bungled this entire process has been from the onset of #TrumPandemic, and continues with every development. Literally a matter of life and death, there’s no leadership, accountability, or playbook. Toss into the mix the crackpots and free-dumb freaks who won’t mask up and actually doubt millions of people around the world are sick and dying and you have what will become the SNAFU of the Century in its very first year.

As for Guido, she’d arranged for a second test even before these she got (non-) results, and that second test report came back with the word “Negative.” Fancy that.

A page of the Memorial report is attached. If you click on it there’s an option to enlarge. You tell me if I’m wrong about this.

Oh, and Happy Fucking New Year.


Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 8 Comments

Tasteful Exhibit

Hungry for entertainment?

Orkan Telhan, an artist and associate professor of fine arts at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, spent the last year imagining how climate change might impact the future of food consumption. He collaborated with scientists to create a project that included 3-D printed pancakes, bioengineered bread and genetically-modified salmon. But it was their provocative, and less appetizing, development of what they call “Ouroboros Steak,” meat cultivated from human cells and expired blood, that challenged the sustainability practices of the nascent cellular agriculture industry, which develops lab-grown products from existing cell cultures. — NYTimes

“…meat cultivated from human cells and expired blood.” Served with a side of horse radish and a splash of Worcestershire. Red wine, or maybe a dark beer poured with a generous….. head.

The inevitable howls of the shocked and offended arrived almost immediately, some personally addressed, others on social media. These included death threats, advanced by the same muddle-heads who stoutly object to the exhibit as degrading and disrespecting human life simultaneously threatening the lives of the exhibitors.

One of the product’s creators responded to criticism by pointing out that in their exhibit, they use their own cells and blood, as opposed to labs that create meat for commercial use, which take animals’ cells without those animals’ consent.  This echoes the sentiment of the early astronauts, whose nourishment was derived from their own excrement. “At least we’ll get to eat our own,” one noted at the time.

The whole thing leaves me a trifle queasy, but I go months without eating meat, and generally settle for just a tiny taste at a time when I do. I’ll happily devour the garnishes, though, especially with a cold beer. And who doesn’t enjoy some good head?

Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 3 Comments


Now that the number of COVID-19 cases stands over a million in Florida – third highest in the nation! – I call the office of Gov Runt Duh-Santis to express congratulations. I am connected to a media relations flak in his office.

“Congratulations?” MRF repeats, obviously puzzled.

Well, sure. As of Sunday, Florida counts 1,058,704 infections. That’s 1 in every 19 residents, and as a bonus, the number of deaths per day averages 98.1 – just a hair under 100! Only states with more cases are Texas and California, both with larger populations than ours, so we’re kicking the competition’s ass.

“I wasn’t aware that there was a contest working,” he says, dryly.

Well, maybe not officially, but by aligning the state’s #TrumPandemic strategy with the Great Barrington Declaration, the governor has committed Florida to achieving herd immunity – basically, the disease will stop spreading when nearly everybody contracts it, right?

“Not exactly. The thinking is, open up as close to normal as we can while still protecting the most vulnerable, like senior citizens. Yes, that will accelerate infections, but it will be among populations better able to handle and recover.”

And what young parent or schoolchild wouldn’t risk a touch of potentially fatal epidemic to save great grandpaw, right? How many infections, or what percentage of the population do we need to achieve herd immunity?

“The magic number seems to be 60 – 70%, but we’ve seen various estimates, based on factors like the percentage of disease-inhibiting activities within a population. That’s the reason the governor resists a mask mandate, for example. We want to achieve that threshold quickly.”

Hmmm. Let’s see. Florida’s population is about 21 million, so the governor’s plan is to have between 12.6 and 14.7 million infections. Wow. And we’re only at a million now. Lot of work ahead of us.

“True. But with the impending holidays, there’s incredible opportunity for super-spreader events. Plus a spike in year-end travel. Numbers could double by mid-January.”

What a delightful Christmas gift! Say — the governor himself isn’t a senior, is he? And he has a relatively young family, correct?

“Very young – in fact, the First Lady just had her third child in March.”

Seems then, as state leaders, the DeSantis family should volunteer to become COVID-19 positive as soon as possible. They should set an example for other younger Floridians and accelerate the race to achieve herd immunity. We have at least 11 million to go! Plan the work and work the plan, right?

“Are you out of your mind? What’s the point of being an elitist if you can’t avoid the unpleasant outcomes of the policies you design for everybody else? I know where this is going, so the interview is over.” He rings off.

Well, dag. You’d suppose an ardent Trumpfian asslicker like Runt Duh-Santis would step up in a situation like this, but evidently he’s no Rudy Giuliani.

So it’s up to us, the rank and file. Do your duty, Florida! Get and stay positive! Your Governor supports you, if only from behind!

Posted in News From the Nation's Dicktip | 12 Comments

Joltin’ Joe Has Left and Gone Away

Anticipating Thanksgiving, Guido gives the coffee maker a thorough cleaning. Next morning it dies. Because, 2020.

So Guido replaces the Mister Coffee unit with another Mister Coffee unit. The new model has exactly one control button, front and center, which you press right to activate, then press left to deactivate. When the unit is off, the button glows green. When the unit is activated, the button also glows green, but brighter and larger.

Is this the stupidest fucking design scheme of the new decade? I know from long experience that it will take me months, if at all, to see that green button and NOT think the goddam machine is on. This will happen numerous times daily, every time I’m in the kitchen and the green light catches my eye.

What is the point of illuminating the only control button on the entire unit when it’s off? To make the only button, smack dab in the middle of the unit, easier to find in the dark (because nobody turns lights on when making coffee, right)?

If you’re gonna light up the damn thing when it isn’t on, how about making it red? Anything but the same color!

This sort of shit wouldn’t happen if Joe DiMaggio was still on the job.

Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 10 Comments

Coming Into Money

Around the country, November has been declared National Philanthropy Month, a time for non-profit organizations to ramp up their self-promotional and solicitation activities, often to the annoyance of the general public. Having spent most of my career in non-profit endeavor, I can easily relate to all sides in this.

The field has changed enormously since I became involved (in 1971!). Like most old farts kicked to the curb and left behind, I’m not at all convinced that overall, it’s changed for the better. Not an argument I enjoy having, and at this point, there’s no ROI.

Which leads me to repost this adventure in fundraising that nobody outside the profession (and few within) gets to see very often, and, given its history, rather presages cultural developments of an entirely different stripe and flavor.  Click the link to go back in time. Hope you enjoy.


Posted in Shaken and Stirred | 9 Comments


Oh, look: it’s Friday! If you can read this, you made it. Welcome to Obalesque Weekend Edition. As opposed to the Weakened Edition.

Well before the #TrumPandemic era, I intended to retool this blog significantly, concentrating on the conversations and antics at the lesbian sports bar where I hang out. Actually, it would be the new location, as the old Liquor & Rubber Balls Sports Emporium and One-Hour Martinizing lost its lease, and had to move. As Don Tequila, Guiding Spirit of the facility noted, “The only creatures lower than the slime-sucking commercial property owners in the city of Hollywood are the execrable stinking vermin that live under their buildings. But at least those parasites have the decency to stay out of daylight.”

Full story and additional details:

Don managed to open the place, renamed #RubberBalls&Liquor and not quite finished, in time for the Superbowl, as he promised. I vaguely remember screaming obscenities at Andy Reid and the Chiefs (as an Eagles fan, I will always despise that head coach and yes, I was in the minority as well the bag that night). But shortly thereafter he had to shut it down when #TrumPandemic overwhelmed the region.

Don visits the site daily, moodily adding final touches to the décor oriented to his clientele,  most of which seems to be fashioned out of black leather. Sweet! I drop by now and then, slip on a mask, and walk in. I got privileges.

“Taps are off,” he says, not looking up. “Sewage problems. All this damn rain.”

Do I dare ask what sewage has to do with your beer taps? Is this a cost-saving measure – piping in sewage to sell as a Florida microbrewery product?

“I didn’t think of that,” he replies, either amused or intrigued. “Filter out the solids and I probably could. Effusia Lite. Dung Dark. I Pee A. Yeah. Might work.”

Numbers are going the wrong way again. Any idea when you’ll open?

Don shakes his massive head. “We could legally open now. Limited seating, social distancing, masks.  But…” (long pause) “Look, you know my clientele. They’re out there on the edge already, drunks, heads, abusers, self-destructive loonies – I don’t want to contribute to that any more than I do already. We just gotta get past this.”

Why, Don, you big softie. You got a conscience. Who knew?

“None of my ex-wives,” he says. “Or creditors.” He slips off his stool, graceful as a listing battleship, and walks to the door. “Holy mother of dog, it’s fucking raining again.” Sighs massively. I’ve never seen him this down.

Maybe it’s time to get out, Don. Take your millions and retire to Tahiti.

“Not my style. I get in trouble when I got nothin’ to do. I’m in for the long haul. Well, longer.”

You could always hand it over to somebody else and take a back seat. A smaller role. Once you get it open, let some other sucker run the day-to-day.

Don gives me the look I imagine you’d see on linebackers about to blitz a rookie quarterback. “You know the old joke about the poor shmuck whose job at the circus is to follow the parade and clean up the animal shit in the street? Does it year after year, literally tons of shit on his resume. Somebody asks him why he doesn’t get the hell out, and he says, ‘What?? And leave show biz?’ That’s me. Meet the New Boss. Same as the old boss.”

I’d drink to that, Don, but your taps are off.

“Heh! Sit your ass back down. I’ll lock the door and open some bottles.”

Man, I miss this place.

Posted in The Adventures of Don Tequila | 8 Comments


It’s no secret that Florida’s unemployment system is not only stingy with its benefits level, it’s intentionally inefficient, buggy, and designed to frustrate would-be filers. This was the handiwork of former Governor (now Senator) Dickwithears, who wanted to minimize costs for employers at the expense of unemployed workers, and keep unemployment numbers down to bolster the appearance of the state’s economy.

The system was problematic even before the economy crashed this year as a result of #TrumPandemic, but when entire armies of newly unemployed Floridians attempted to file, all hell broke loose. Gov. Runt Duh-Santis, already over his head trying futilely to manage a plague, found himself playing defense on a second front as well. “We’re working on it,” he said, grimly. “Give us some time. And remember, I’m not the one who brought this system in.” Cover ass much, Gov?

It took tech nerd geniuses about 6 months, but I’m told that most of the redundancies and bugs have been ironed out, and the system is working acceptably, if not well. On the promise of anonymity, one of these dataheads agreed to give me some perspective on the back story. Let’s call him “Buzz.”

“When a team from my firm was assigned to fix this system – we dubbed it “Operation Clusterfuck” – the first thing we realized is that its major shortcomings were built-in. Intentional. It was designed to fail,” he tells me.

So it was actually a success!

“That’s fair. Well, a fair assessment, not fair to the millions of taxpayers who not only bought it, but were now getting screwed by it. And we also saw that had there not been this emergency, Operation Clusterfuck wouldn’t even have been launched – the administration was fine with a busted system.”

The emergency being #TrumPandemic, right?

“Hmmm, not exactly. The emergency was a public relations problem. At first, the administration didn’t care much that people were getting screwed left and right, they just didn’t want to get blamed for it. But blaming the media and passing the buck just wasn’t working any better for this than it was for their mismanagement of the pandemic, not with entire families and communities clamoring for help. So they broke down and brought us in to fix it.”

How noble.

“And then – maybe mid-October – we started getting pressure to speed it up. That was brand new: ’til then nobody bothered us about anything, they seemed happy to let us be and be able to tell anybody who asked that they were addressing the issue.”

More ass-covering. Ever find out why the change in attitude?

Buzz chuckles mirthlessly. “We figured it out. It was the election. The polls. They were afraid the President would lose! And now that Florida is his home state, he might come down and file for unemployment benefits! Maybe $275/week (maximum) doesn’t sound like much, but hey – when you’re down and desperate, you take whatever you can get. And how embarrassing would it be for the state of Florida if the ex-president of the United States couldn’t successfully negotiate the application, or had his benefits delayed, or even denied?”

I guess he could apply for a Payday Loan – isn’t that what his own Labor Secretary had recommended back in March? Criminal interest rates, but he’s real good at wriggling out of debt through bankruptcy and advanced deadbeatery.

“We knew we were right after the election results came in. Listen, this is from Sunday’s paper: Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, had a sharp response for Trump. “You’re FIRED!,” she tweeted. “Let me know if you need help applying for unemployment in Florida”!’

Wow, a Democrat! Nice of her to offer assistance.

“Yeah. Anyway, we started working overtime, and I think we’re at a point where it’s doing okay. Of course, if we see another spike in infections, and another crush of applications, well, let’s just say Operation Clusterfuck isn’t ready to stand down.”

So there’s your back story, Obalesquers! And as tawdry a tale of official apathy in Flori-duh as you’ll find, where public welfare is at best an afterthought, and rank and file citizens are routinely shuffled to the back of the queue.

Posted in News From the Nation's Dicktip | 9 Comments

Erection Day Eve

Listening to a remake of that great old Motown song by the Four Tops, Thame Old Thong, by the Lispers. Yeah!

Posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment | 6 Comments