Monday, December 22, 2014

Heading west

All right, we're heading to visit family on the west coast, and hopefully warmer weather, for the holidays. I'll be back in 2 weeks.

Whatever you celebrate, have a good one. If you don't celebrate anything, at least call your mother once in a while. She says it wouldn't kill you to pick up a phone. She's worried you aren't eating properly, and needs to tell you something about your cousin Max, Naomi's boy. You met him once at a birthday party in 1972, remember? He was the one with braces.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend reruns

Dear Mrs. Nosybich,

Sorry about our little dispute at the school last week. Normally I don't take the kids in the morning, but Mrs. Grumpy had an early meeting that day.

It must be nice having a child that is naturally compliant with your orders. Frank, however, is not like your daughter, and will fight us to the death about wearing a jacket. Getting him to wear a sweatshirt over his clothes took an act of Congress and delicate negotiations. While it's not perfect, it was a halfway compromise.

So far he hasn't frozen to death or caught pneumonia/swine flu/AIDS/cooties/halitosis, or any of the other disorders that you seem to think are floating through the air specifically targeting unjacketed children.

But I'm glad you were concerned enough about someone else's kid to take time out of your busy day, walk over to me, and make a scene in front of all the other parents about how you've been watching the "horrible neglect" practiced by my wife and I. I appreciate you running down a list of communicable airborne illnesses that you got from Google, and closing your argument by threatening to report us to Child Protective Services if you ever see my kid without a jacket again.

I think it's great that you want to pay such close attention to the failings of us lesser parents. Reminded me of the Charlie Brown cartoon where Lucy took it upon herself to write New Year's resolution lists for everyone else.

I really like the way you punctuated your tirade by slamming your daughter's car door, HARD, to make sure we were all paying attention. We definitely all were (except your daughter, who looked too terrified to speak) because me, 3 teachers, and 20 other parents immediately began trying to tell you that you'd just slammed one of her backpack straps in the door. But you were clearly more concerned with my crappy parenting skills to notice.

Fortunately, your child had the presence of mind to let go of the other strap after she'd been pulled down and dragged about 3 feet as your drove away. And I have to admire the teacher who boldly leaped in front of your car to make you slammed on the brakes, at the risk of her own health.

Your kid will be okay, I swear. She has a small cut on one hand, and a tear in her jacket where it got dragged (maybe you should get her a new one).

I felt so awful about it too. You made me feel very guilty when, after you checked your kid and released the backpack strap from the car door, you turned to me and yelled, "Now look what you made me do!" before getting in your car and driving away.

Happy holidays.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Quote du jour

"I'm allergic to arsenic."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Do you miss your old Polaroid camera? The thrill of waiting for the wet picture to come out, watching it develop as you flapped it up and down only to find out it was a horribly overexposed shot of your foot?

Me, neither.

I also don't want anyone taking my picture in the bathroom.

BUT if for some reason you're nostalgic for the first, and find the second appealing, here's a perfect idea: The Polaroll!

This cleverly designed toilet paper dispenser provides the best of both worlds. The paper rolls out where the snapshots used to, and you can imagine your life is actually interesting enough for someone to want to spy on you in the bathroom.

Unlike the original Polaroid films, I DO NOT recommend shaking the TP around after use.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trivial Pursuit

I love Wikipedia. Every year I donate to Wikipedia (I recommend you do, too).

Why? Because I love learning stuff. Granted, Wikipedia is far from perfect, but nothing is. And for someone who likes trivia, it's awesome. In quiet moments I can click the "random article" feature repeatedly and learn all kinds of new stuff.


There are some things I'm sorry I've learned. Things I likely could go to my grave perfectly happy without knowing about.

For example:

The Hulaburger. In 1963 McDonalds (briefly) test marketed this bizarre creation, hoping it would sell with Catholics on Fridays. It consisted of a bun, cheese, ketchup, pickles, onions- and a thick slice of pineapple. It was invented by Chairman Ray Kroc, and I can only assume it got as far as it did because no one dared tell him it was insane.

The Ethel Merman Disco Album. In 1979 the legendary Ethel Merman felt the need to record some of her biggest Broadway hits as disco numbers.

The Bud Bowl scores. Of course I remember the odd "Bud Bowl" advertising campaign of the 1990's, featuring football playing beer bottles. It only aired during the SuperBowl, and some years was more exciting than the game itself. And I'm not surprised the ad campaign has a wiki page. But what frightens me is that someone actually tracked the final scores of each of Bud Bowl and put them in the article.

The ingredients in a McRib sandwich. I personally have never eaten a McRib, nor do I plan to. And if I ever had the slightest thought of such, learning that the faux-rib-shaped patty is made of pork shoulder and "restructured meat products such as tripe, heart,and stomach" would drive it out of my brain FAST.

As a child of the Atari 2600 age, I figured I'd played all of the titles for it. Even the shitty Atari Pac-Man, which I saved money for, raced home with, and was absolutely horrified to discover bore absolutely no fucking resemblance whatsoever to the arcade game. But I digress. Anyway, I was shocked to find out that there was actually an Atari game based on the rock group Journey.

I suppose nothing should surprise me where pornography is concerned, but learning that there's a porn flick based on the "Mario Brothers" video game franchise still did.

I am not a "high 5" person. I have never been, and will never be, a high-5 person. I have one patient who feels the need to give me high-5s multiple times at each appointment, and it drives me nuts. So I was especially horrified to learn that there is actually a national high-5 day.

These, and many less-strange facts (and a few more so) can all be found at Wikipedia. Expand your mind!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Commas. There's a reason.

Seen in a chart:

Thank you, A!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Still looking for the perfect plunger for your bathroom? Want one that exudes refined taste? (good luck, there isn't one) Worried about people threatening you in the john and not having a weapon handy?

Then look no further!

This lovely toilet plunger is cleverly designed to resemble a shotgun. When in use, or simply by pulling the trigger, it plays a loud shotgun blast.

To further improve its aura of elegance, the gun barrel is clearly labeled "IF IT'S BROWN, IT'S DOWN!"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

A lot of us grew up watching "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" every December.

One popular number from the show is "The Island of Misfit Toys," about a place where defective and unwanted toys are sent. I kind of liked that song. It was somehow reassuring, as a kid, to think that even junk the charities wouldn't take still had a place to go (when you get older you find out it's called a landfill).

Until this week.

Thanks to my reader Don I learned of a toy so terrifying that I'm sure it's not welcome on the island. Hell, it may not be wanted in the landfill, either.

"Even misfit toys have their standards, Rudolph."

Apparently this gadget was purchased at a toy store that sold stuff no decent emporium would carry. And it was half-off there. If you're marked down at a place that isn't known for its quality... that's a bad sign already.

So what am I getting at here? This:

"Wait, it looks kind of cute."

Yes, it's G.G. Giraffe (the initials are for yelling "GOOD GOD!" when you turn it on) from the "Forest Friends" collection. I should note here that giraffes don't even live in forests. They live in savannahs.

The box goes on to say that G.G. "Walks along, moves head, and shriek" (sic). The first 2 don't sound so bad. I mean, a lot of toys do that. And he does look sort of cute.

But it's the 3rd, regardless of erroneous verb tense, that sets G.G. apart.

Generally, shrieking isn't something that's really desired in a children's toy. Unfortunately, in a rare example of honest marketing, it's also the only thing G.G. does horribly well. Let's listen to what happens when he's switched on:

Paging Doc McStuffins, STAT!

So, while I don't recommend G.G. for your own kids, I think he's an excellent choice for the offspring of in-laws you're less than fond of. Preferably those who live out of state. WAY out of state.

Thank you, Don!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hi, honey, I'm home.

Seen in a hospital chart:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just add reindeer!

One of my readers is an OB/GYN who recently had foot surgery, and therefore is (allegedly) non-weight bearing. Like most docs (we're generally terrible patients) she's not going to let that slow her down.

So she's hobbling around the hospital this month using a knee scooter.

Of course this is the Christmas season. So while she was doing a C-Section (without the cart, it's not sterile) her ride was left at a nurses station.

When she returned, she found the staff had aggressively pimped it out:

"The 'eggnog' flask is hidden under the cushion."

I think that's just awesome. All it needs now is some flashing lights.

Thank you, K!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Does your man like looking at gorgeous women? Probably.

Does he also have a SERIOUS carp fetish?

Okay, maybe the 2nd one is a bit... uncommon. But if he's into both, do I have the gift for you!

The German camping supply company Carponizer proudly introduces their 2015 KarpfenKalender!

"I'm wearing less than this inside. A lot less."

No need to get your guy 2 separate calenders (one with women and another with carp) that he'll be forced to alternate looking at. Now he can have the erotic pleasures of Europe's most beautiful woman AND enormous carp IN ONE GREAT COLLECTION! Every month will bring him pictures of sizzlin' babes and smokin' fish in high-resolution color.

Stunning models and scaly osteichthyes... What more could you want?

Not to be outdone, Carponizer's English rival, Top Fishing Gear, has introduced their own "hot chicks and cold fish" themed calender for 2015, featuring, well, similar stuff:

Either calender would be an ideal gift for a man who enjoys using his rod & reel. Order yours today!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Picture quiz

This is from:

A. The 2015 Lady Gaga footwear line

B. Guide to S&M fetishist shoe styles

C. The Human Torch and Friends Visit the Doctor.

D. "But these were not an ordinary pair of black and white pumps; both were left feet, one had a right angle turn with separate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and was curved inward like a rocking chair with a vise and razor blades to hold the foot in place."

E. An ad for pain medicine.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 1941

December 7, 1941, was a landmark day in American history, but this post isn't about the story you've heard. The events at Pearl Harbor are well known, but what's virtually forgotten is what happened 142 miles away that same day.

Ni'ihau is the forgotten Hawaiian island. It's an idyllic place, covering 70 square miles, at the western end of the group. Except for a few military staff or privately arranged visitors, it's off-limits to outsiders. The year round population is roughly 150 people, and the primary language used is Hawaiian. Except for it briefly being considered as the location for the United Nations headquarters (really!) in 1944, it's rarely in the news. Today it exists in a fairly unspoiled condition as an environmental sanctuary. It's been privately owned by the Robinson family since 1864.

In 1941 Ni'ihau had no connection to the rest of the world, except for a weekly supply boat that came from Kaua'i on Mondays. There was no radio on the island. The Robinson family had a home there, but the majority of the 136 inhabitants were native Hawaiians who farmed and raised livestock. If there was an emergency, they would build a signal fire and the Kaua'i police would send a boat.

Many details of the events I'm going to tell you about are sketchy, and there are several different variations online. But the overall theme is the same.

December 7, 1941...

Airman 1st Class Shigenori Nishikaichi, IJN

Pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi had left the aircraft carrier Hiryu that morning, part of the second wave to attack Pearl Harbor. During the battle his Zero fighter was damaged by antiaircraft fire, severing lines and putting holes in his fuel tank.

With gas running out and difficulty controlling his plane, he headed in the wrong direction and found himself over tranquil Ni'ihau. Picking out the best landing spot he could find, Nishikaichi bounced across a pasture, through a fence, and into a pile of rocks before coming to a stop near the town of Puuwai.

The unusual event was witnessed by Hawila Kaleohano, who lived nearby. Although unaware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kaleohano knew from the weekly newspaper delivery that diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Japan were deteriorating. Recognizing the plane as Japanese, he opened the canopy and took Nishikaichi's revolver and papers before the pilot came to his senses, then helped the young aviator out.

By this time the noise had attracted most of the village. Unfortunately, none of them spoke Japanese, and he didn't speak Hawaiian, so communication was minimal. There were only a few on the island who spoke Japanese. One was a housekeeper, Harada, who'd immigrated with his wife from Japan just a year before.

While waiting for Harada, the locals treated Nishikaichi as an unexpected guest, and certainly the Hawaiian Islands are known for their hospitality. So they threw a welcoming party for him. When Harada finally arrived they still weren't able to get much out of the pilot. So, without anything else to do, they decided to wait until Mr. Robinson, the island's owner, came back on the Monday boat the next day.

On Monday the villagers and their reluctant guest waited at Kie Kie Landing for the weekly boat... but it didn't come. This was unusual, though they had no way of knowing how much the world had changed on Sunday. But the boat didn't come Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. The Navy had stopped all non-essential boat traffic. Mr. Robinson was trapped on Kaua'i.

By this time it was obvious to the islanders that something was up. The pilot had opened up a bit, admitting there'd been a raid on Pearl Harbor, but tried to downplay it. In fact, he told them he was starting to like the friendly isle of Ni'ihau, and hoped to settle down there when the current crisis was resolved.

On Friday morning, with no boat and no news, the natives decided to build a  signal fire. Nishikaichi was left with a man named Haniki, and the 2 went over to visit Harada and his wife.

While they walked, Haniki suddenly found himself held at gunpoint. Harada, at the pilot's request, had stolen a revolver and hunting rifle from the Robinson house. They locked Haniki in a storage room, and headed for Puuwai. The pilot desperately had to get his papers back, as they contained maps and information he'd been told to keep from the Americans.

Running down the road, they horse-jacked a passing cart and rode off for Hawila Kaleohano's home. He was using the outhouse, saw them coming, and ran into the fields. They frantically searched his place, without success.

By this time the village had been emptied, and so the pair began tearing apart all the houses for the papers. They threatened to kill everyone if they weren't handed over. But the only person they encountered was Mrs. Huluolani, an elderly woman who was reading the Bible. She completely ignored their threats, and they finally left her alone.

Giving up for the moment, they stole some tools, ran back to the wrecked Zero, and pulled off its machine guns. Carrying them back to Puuwai, they threatened to shoot up everything until the papers were handed over. But only Mrs. Huluolani heard them. They tore up Hawila's house a 2nd time. this time finding the pilot's pistol, but the papers were still missing. Finally they gave up and burned Hawila's house down, hoping the papers would be destroyed, too (they were actually with Hawila).

The villagers had been watching the events from hiding places outside the town, but weren't in a position to do much. The 2 Japanese men had all the guns on the island. At a strategy meeting it was decided to send women and children to some caves up on the mountain, and the men would try to capture Harada and the pilot while they slept. This didn't work, but a big sheepherder, Ben Kanahali, managed to steal all the machine gun ammo.

By this time the group building a signal fire decided that smoke wouldn't give enough of the details of what was going on. So six of them jumped into a canoe and began rowing the 17 miles to Kaua'i for help.

It took 16 hours of continuous rowing to get there, finally arriving on the afternoon of Saturday, December 13. They found Mr. Robinson, who immediately called the army. A band of soldiers, Mr. Robinson, and the 6 rowers were soon racing back to Ni'ihau on board a lighthouse boat.

But, by the time they arrived late Saturday afternoon, there wasn't much to do. The Battle of Ni'ihau was over.

Ella & Ben Kanahali

Emboldened by his success with the machine gun ammo, early Saturday morning Ben Kanahali decided to go back and steal the other weapons. His wife, Ella, came with him. Because they weren't particularly stealthy they were quickly captured by the 2 Japanese men and taken inside a house.

There the pilot started over with the demands for Hawila and his papers, but Ben said he was tired of the whole thing by now. He told Harada to take the gun away from Nishikaichi before anyone got hurt, but Harada refused.

Ben had had enough. He'd been up all night, was hungry, and felt things had already gone too far. He leaped out of his chair and jumped on the surprised pilot himself. His wife promptly joined in, followed by Harada. The pile of 4 people clawing, kicking, and slugging each other rolled around on the floor for a minute. Harada pulled Ella off, and it settled down into 2 separate fights.

At some point Nishikaichi got his hand free - with the gun - and shot Kanahali 3 times - groin, stomach, and thigh. This, as it turned out, was a mistake.

The gunshot wounds only made the big Polynesian REALLY mad. He calmly stood up from the floor, picked the pilot up by his neck and one leg (he often did this with runaway sheep), and slammed him head first into a stone wall. Nishikaichi was killed instantly. When Ben turned to deal with Harada (who was still struggling with Mrs. Kanahali ), the housekeeper stopped fighting and shot himself.

Thus ended the first, and strangest, land battle of the Pacific war.

In August, 1945, Ben Kanahali was awarded the Purple Heart and Medal of Merit for his part in the action. His wife, sadly, never received any official recognition. He died in 1962, Ella in 1974.

Nishikaichi's ashes were returned to Japan in 1956, when the identity of the invader was finally established. For this reason many early histories of the event (including Walter Lord's excellent "Day of Infamy") name him only as "the pilot."

Years later, his badly damaged Zero was moved to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, where it remains today.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Great online ratings

Thank you, SMOD!

Friday, December 5, 2014


Ms. Healthy: "I'm planning on losing weight."

Dr. Grumpy: "Are you going to follow any type of diet?"

Ms. Healthy: "Yeah, a vegan diet, or Atkins, or paleo. Maybe vegetarian, or South Beach, or gluten-free. You know, one of those diet things. Like the Mediterranean diabetics eat."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

You fart, we all fart. In college, or on guys night out, it can be a source of pride. But, in a crowded elevator, or board meeting, or parole hearing... it may not be the best thing.

Fear no more!

With this simple patch attached to your undies, you can now make them smell like mint!

"What's that smell? I think someone cut the Life Savers."

Now, instead of filling the elevator with noxious fumes, you can gas others with a refreshing blast of mint. The manufacturer (to date) hasn't released other scents (though I think Root Beer, Spring Breeze, and Gingerbread Spice should be considered).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Head desk

Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy, returning a page."

Dr. Hospital: "Hi, I was wondering if you got a consult on Mrs. Weirdlastname?"

Dr. Grumpy: "I don't remember, but I got a lot of calls last night. Hang on, let me get my list out."

Dr. Hospital: "I was hoping you could see her soon, because she wants to catch her flight to Calgary later today."

Dr. Grumpy: "Okay, I have my list. How do you spell it?"

Dr. Hospital: "Uh, C-A-L-G-A-R-Y."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Brave New World

Source: "Accountable Care Organizations Aim to Provide Better Health Care" Neurology Reviews, September, 2014.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dr. Grumpy's gift guide

Yes, as the calendar begins its countdown to Christmakuh, it's once again time for the gift guide. Where Dr. Grumpy will help you pick out the finest in tasteful, fashionable, and useful items.

This year, I'm going to kick things off with a solution to a common problem: What to do with a dead rodent.

You've finally killed that pesky mouse that was terrorizing your kids and less-than-impressive dog or cat... but now what? I mean, it seems like a pretty long walk to take it out to the trash can. And after he was kind enough to jump-start your car you really don't want to toss it into the neighbors yard, either.

So why not make it into a lovely decorative piece?

"Well, it beats the leg lamp you imported from Fragilé."

Yes, for only $47 you can give a loved one the complete Mouse Taxidermy Kit. It includes instructions and materials, you just have to supply imagination, props... and, of course, an ex-mouse.

"Do they sell one in St. Bernard size?"

Start a new pastime with the passed-on. It's sure to be a fine conversation piece for a living room, cubicle, or dashboard.
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