Monday, July 27, 2015

We Miss You, Doghouse

It was two years ago today (seems longer, yet seems like yesterday) that we lost Douglas Case, AKA Doghouse Riley, the best writer I've ever had the privilege to know (and I suspect I'm not the only one who feels that way). DR was a clear-eyed thinker and a devastating wit who neither took shit nor offered quarter to the professionally stupid; but though he played a curmudgeon on the Internet, he was in fact -- if occasionally in secret -- the most humane of men, guilty of many surreptitious acts of kindness. He was also modest to a fault, which is perhaps why he gave away his words to hoi polloi, rather than auctioning them per syllable to the highest bidder, and if he were still around to read this testimonial the first sentence alone would be enough to earn me a written reproach, of which "over-praising" would be the gentlest gerund I could hope for.

Since all we have left of him are his words, let's continue our tradition of reaching at random into our old comment threads and marveling anew at the pearls he strewed there.
On the occasion of Chris Vosburg's birthday: 
Happy Birthday, Chris. 
Also, Lyle Lovett turns 52, and Fernando Valenzuela started breathing through his eyelids 49 years ago. 
And 119 years ago today, Mississippi enacted a literacy test for voting, the beginning of the wildly popular regional “Grandfather clause” fad which would prevail for another 74 years. (Some people have Ann Coulter pics, I have Today in Institutionalized Racism entries.)
At least this loser has the courage of her lunatic convictions 
And I’d agree with you, Jay B, if that courage extended to her actually facing actual evidence instead of making shit up. 
Sixty percent of the problem is it’s too fucking easy to be one of these people.
Ya think Goober here refuses to eat fowl as a professional courtesy?
Please, Scott, no more Dr. Mike. 
Hey, Joyce read the Police Gazette, van Gogh contemplated gobs of spittle on a wall, and Doug Giles is already up to 1997 in The Big Book of Pop Culture References. Genius has its prerogatives. 
Okay, questions: 
1. Can anyone tell me exactly when the Feminists took over the courts, and the centuries-old tradition of automatically awarding child custody to the father was reversed? 
2. Is there any political movement more pathetic than the thirty years of this Divorced Dads shit? “Hi, we have a legitimate concern, which we’d like to address by combining the worst possible features of Anti-fluoridationist rhetoric and Black Helicopter paranoia, worded as a snopes-worthy email, and all filtered through our blinding hatred of how that bitch spent so much of my money on clothes.” 
3. Dr. Mike used to be an atheist? Have we heard that one before, or is he tryin’ out some new material? 
4. Do you think it occurred to him that no professor would debate him because they’re smarter than the Christians he used to drag to his Level?
Thanks so much; I love all you guys, and I’m honored to be the first non-Coulter birthday, I think. 
Also: Peetie Wheatstraw and Rebecca West. 
Y’know, I sorta hate to see the War on Xmas business leaking steam; it’s given me my only Holiday traditions: 
1) Driving around my neck of the woods counting the number of churches, and private residences, displaying a creche, something which is so vitally important to to the Season when public land is involved. (This year was on par: one church, two houses, in a random search of a five-mile radius and a spot check of every local church in the phone book.) 
2) Noting when the issue comes up that the Nativity tale, with its seamy manipulation of text to correspond to the Hero saga, its clumsy, and shameful, historical inventions intended merely to get the Christ child to Bethlehem, which supposedly “fulfills” a “prophecy” of Isaiah that has nothing to do with it, and the dueling genealogies which suddenly turn matrilocal when necessary, ought to be spotted outright by any literate person post-Lord Raglan. It’s enough, really–too late for that now–to note that the historical facade was demolished in 1890 by Emil Schürer, the Protestant theologian and author of A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, to such an extent that the book’s late-20th century revisers left that section intact and answered a hundred years’ worth of desperate attempts at rebuttal in the footnotes.
Aw, jeez. The one Socialist you types would love to have an amiable discussion with, rather than hurling shit at long-range, and he’s already dead. Just can’t buy a break these days, can you?
Interestin’, innit, that guys–and I use the term advisedly–like Matt and Dr. Mike Adams, Ph.D Doctor, who are so goddamn allergic to pushy dames takin’ over men’s work, nevertheless chose careers which can be boiled down to “Typist”? 
By the way, the Communications Director for Giuliani ’08 was Katie Levinson, who gives every appearance of being a woman. Which does raise the question of how one coordinated the communication of Giuliani policy–try to decide where the noun, the verb, and the three 9/11s were supposed to go?
Funny, I was in Kindergarten in 1960, and I grew up trying to stick it into every woman I met, and I never made the connection. Sex, as I recall it, was something which seemed like an enormous amount of fun. Contraception was something which prevented pregnancy, was not nearly as much fun, and generally came in the form of a condom (which, I add solely for historical perspective, I was renowned among my early-teen, non-feticided peers for marching into the Hook’s Drugs and demanding of the lady pharmacist, though in those simpler times the pharmacist filled orders for her retailer employer without filtering them through her own moral system first). True, I have no idea what sort of contraception, if any, accompanied most of the thousands of tawdry, faceless, anonymous sexual acts I engaged in in the dorm rooms, motels, empty classrooms, alleyways, elevators, public parks, bridge abutments, cornfields, and fortuitously unlocked parked cars in and near my college campus, but the women I did bother to speak with afterwards were on the Pill about 50% of the time, and a lot had negative physical reactions; IUDs and diaphragms were trendy alternatives. Which, like all those Sheiks and Trojans that pockmarked my wallets, pretty much pre-date the ethical morass created by oral contraception by a century or centuries, you sick, sex-adverse fuck. Wonder what people were usin’ ‘em for all those years?
On an article entitled "No More Terror in the Skies if Men Take Charge:
I see Gary managed to get into Western Michigan in 1969, while college deferments were still in effect, and ride out the draft. What a surprise.
On a pro-male only military plea by R. Emmett Tyrrell entitled "The Male of the Species (American)"
Tyrrell’s own military record is spotty, as in “there’s a big empty spot in his bio where it would have occurred”, except for reports he was in Bloomington, Indiana, serving as wing-nutjob and vacuum-tube manufacturer Sarkes Tarzian’s buttboy. 
The verbiage bombardments apparently keep the flashbacks away. And/or the questions.
The last person imprisoned for felonious consensual oral sex in Indiana, as I recall, was a heterosexual male who got a hummer from his ex, who then got mad at him for something and swore out a police report, after which she tried to recant but the authorities pursued it anyway, and the man did actual hard time, you should pardon the expression. 
Didn’t know about the puppet ban, actually, but I’m all for it; I had the same childhood reaction to the nasty little string danglers that other people have to clowns.
Happy birthday, MaryC. Your earth-shattering birthday sex ’til dawn is in the mail.
On a Pastor Swank column: 
His crook and liar cronies stand to right and left of his every move. 
I’m really not sure why Reality would be caught dead in Ol’ Glamorshots’ neighborhood, but for some reason this remind me that the first week of March, 1982, was about the point the list of Reagan administration indictments broke into double digits.
The two things which probably have surprised me most over the course of my life are 1) the fact that crappy, intelligence-insulting advertising continues to sell crappy, intelligence-insulting products fifty years after television first irradiated the nation’s living rooms with it for eight hours plus per day; and 2) that right-wing/High Church apologetics still take off from the utterly fabulous and then start lying. (Which, by the way, is more delusional: armies of feminists “embittered” by every Palin speaking engagement, or Sarah Palin, happy hausfrau and political juggernaut?) It’s the same shit I used to get every morning on the editorial pages of Gene Pulliam’s Indianapolis Birch Society Morning News in the Sixties: perpetual outrage that one’s political opponents were always being disagreeable. 
As they worked to demonstrate that Anthony was indifferent on abortion, the Palin critics managed to conveniently skip over the other suffragettes and their writings in newspapers and letters. 
Oh, yeah. Just like all the people complaining about BP never mention that none of Shell’s platforms is gushing oil. Beyond the nominative, I mean.
So far there’s been no organized protest against stopping at red lights and going on green. 
So, Farber’s never met any libertarians? Or is he just critiquing their organizational skills?
Can you imagine someone, even a year or two ago, openly advocating Nazi racial policy as a paradigm for the U.S? 
Too young to remember the heyday of the National Review, aren’t you?
Okay, again, since they never get it: unlettered appeals to “animal behavior” are definitely contraindicated if you’re trying to convince the world to keep its knees together. The whole of human sexualityscreams promiscuity: the lack of estrus, permanently inflated breasts, large testicle/body weight ratio, our close kinship with the chimpanzee. (The other apes have harems, by the way, not lifelong committed monogamous heterosexual relationships.) 
And, sorry, I missed the weekend discussion of Zombie Raquel Welch, because I was busy having sex (okay, so, ten minutes of sex, but it took 36 hours of pleading first), so may I just say, now,Raquel Welch was a sex symbol? In the era of Bardot, Deneuve, and Diana Rigg? Maybe to middle-aged drunks nostalgic for Jayne Mansfield. Raquel didn’t exude Sex; more like that plastic burning smell you get when you turn on an electric appliance for the first time.
Mrs. Peel? Really? Even without a head Jayne was way hotter. 
Dude, unless you really were middle-aged, we had very different childhoods, you and I.
And my point–or the one I was trying to make–was not that tastes don’t differ, but that Welch was about as “Sixties” as the girdle, the gin martini, and the flattop. Plastics, Ben. 
And she had racial issues, to boot. At least Jim Brown thought so, since he’s alleged to have asked her on lunch break during filming of 100 Rifles if she wouldn’t mind passing the salt, since it wasn’t black.
Okay, I understand they’ve got a lot of nice artwork an’ stuff, but for the life of me I can’t understand the appeal of a religion which makes grown people fly off the handle about masturbation. 
The other thing I get no end of amusement from is the whole The Pill Caused the Sixties routine. And thanks for bringing up Eisnestadt; I remember what a big deal it was when women of my acquaintance could go to the college health center and get contraceptives. It’s curious that we still found reasons to engage in non-procreative sex before that.
But there is an empty space next to the cards which tells another story that continues to grieve Jerry and his wife, Dayna. Over thirty years ago, Jerry and his then high school sweetheart, Dayna, chose to abort two of their children. 
Boy, there’s a love story for the goddam ages, huh? Let’s just make a little side bet here that the decision to terminate the pregnancywasn’t the mutual decision of two high school lovebirds, and that the empty place on the kitchen counter thirty years on is as ugly a little power play as could be imagined. “I love you, Snookums, and even though you murdered two of my children I hold myself almost as responsible for that blank space on my countertop shrine”. Any takers?
My own position has been, and remains, that I’ll be obligated to show concern for the politically-motivated professional mawkishness some time after those people have demonstrated genuine concern for the well-being of every unwanted infant born on the planet. 
Don’t expect to get called on that anytime soon, say, this lifetime. 
In the meantime, the fact that you, or any other average human has enough brain capacity to imagine some set of circumstances other than what he experienced, the language to communicate those imaginings, and the self-assurance to insist to others that he “knows” what is or isn’t possible I chalk up to an accident of human evolution and our apparent temporal proximity; it doesn’t compel me any more than your writing science fiction, or a cookbook, obligates me to sample it.
On Sheri's return to blogging:
God, darlin’, I’ve missed you. This is like one of those family reunions I go to every…okay, I never go to family reunions.
 On idiot who wrote article she was making gentle fun of:
I am not an economist; I am not a survival expert; I am not a firearms expert; I am not an attorney; I am not a physician. In fact, I am not an expert in anything! 
Oh, sir; blathering on about survivalism as though you were Annie Jacobsen after an in-flight viewing of Mad Max is not nothing. Although it should be. 
Interesting, in a “non-expert demonstrating his insufficient grasp” sort of way, that the only proficiency you recommend is organized by caliber. 
Because, assuming you survive the Hoped-For Apocalypse with something to defend, how long, ya think, before you’re defending it from people who are even better armed and more proficient? It’sAmerica, dude; people like you have been helping arm every last jumpy loner to the teeth for the past fifty years. Freedom! (And thanks. A lot.) 
Second, how difficult is it to find anyplace in the continental US that’s more than a mile and a half from a road? National parks and nature preserves, maybe, and they’re going to be filled with idiots who learned survival techniques from a guy who read a pamphlet and projected his fears of Negro buttrape onto his RenewAmerica column. Plus they’ll be armed. Heavily. Did I thank you for that? 
Look, I understand the backwoods Baptist inclination is to hunker down in small groups headed by some cracked Big Daddy, and dream of being called on to repopulate the earth. And that’s every day, not just in emergencies. But, please, just try to avoid the temptation to give other people advice. And while we’re at it, don’t buy (indifferently treated and flimsily-packaged) bottled fucking water as an emergency supply.
They really can’t help themselves, can they?
“My name is Dawn Stefanowicz. I grew up in a homosexual household during the 1960s and 1970s in Toronto exposed to many different people, the Gay-Lesbian- Bisexual-Transgendered (GLBT) subcultures, and explicit sexual practices…. 
I was at high risk of exposure to contagious STDs due to sexual molestation, my father’s high-risk sexual behaviors, and multiple partners…. 
I was outraged at the incidences of same-sex domestic abuse, sexual advances toward minors and loss of sexual partners as if people were only commodities. I sought comfort looking for my father’s love from boyfriends starting at 12 years old. 
From a young age, I was exposed to explicit sexual speech, self-indulgent lifestyles, varied GLBT subcultures and gay vacation spots. Sex looked gratuitous to me as a child. I was exposed to all-inclusive manifestations of sexuality including bathhouse sex, cross-dressing, sodomy, pornography, gay nudity, lesbianism, bisexuality, minor recruitment, voyeurism and exhibitionism. 
Sado-masochism was alluded to and aspects demonstrated. Alcohol and drugs were often contributing factors to lower inhibitions in my father’s relationships.” 
I guess it’s lucky for Dawn’s audience that she seems to have been exposed to the whole damned megillah of perversion, the better to warn the entire potential book-buying audience. It’s a lot like the incredible good fortune that every believer in reincarnation with a story to sell used to be Caesar, or Cleopatra, or a Crusader, some historical figure vaguely known to a wide range of semi-literates, and not James Gadsden, or Robert Cooper Grier, or the guy who blocked Diana Durbin’s father’s hats.
On Orly Taitz:
I hope he wants his daughter and his future granchildren to live in a constitutional Republic, not tyranny that we are seing today. 
Leaving aside the question of how one gets two professional licenses in California while exhibiting the writing skills of an eighth grader–and not a particularly bright eight grader–it’s amusing to note the diffusion of wingnut vocabulary (“This is a Republic, not a democracy!”), which for forty years has meant “Tough shit if the public doesn’t agree with the Retro-Dixiecrat/Mineral Rights West stranglehold on the Senate; you get another chance next election day”, and now gets contrasted with “tyranny” and without irony. Even if it is filtered by a woman who’s illiterate in five languages.
Y’know, my feeling has always been that if you’re going to live in the 3rd century C.E. you ought to address your arguments to the 3rd century C.E., and leave all questions which have arisen since the invention of the microscope to the people who don’t.
Well, you gotta love a measured, even complimentary response from a guy who apparently googles himself so often he got to my favorite blog before I did. 
So, back at ya, Russ J. Thanks for all the laffs. Can’t say I won’t miss all the kindnesses the Right has provided these many years. But I did want to mention, before things get ugly, that “Tea Parties”, in word nor deed, don’t raise my blood pressure. Y’all are more like seventy-two car alarms going off at once in the Wal*Mart parking lot: par for the course, self-defeating, and inaudible once you get used to it, I suppose, except I can’t see any reason to get within two miles of the place, myself.
 Rest in Peace, Doghouse, you've earned it. But boy could we use you now more than ever.


Carl said...

Riley was one of the few people....Scott included...who made me feel inadequate in the uses of metaphor. I really do miss him.

Kordo said...

"The cemeteries are full of indispensible men." I forgot who said that. No, Scott, the man did not like gushing (I found that out the hard way) but I don't know a living writer who deserves it more. His sentence structure! It was like reading Gibbon, but with clarity. His insults! (Ragging some pundit who'd issued a clarification that only made him sound dumber) "it's the rhetorical equivalent of telling the pepole at the emergency room that the reason you have a flashlight stuck up your ass is that you couldn't find the gerbil in the dark." Ouch....

heydave said...

Amen. A FUCKING men.

Yastreblyansky said...

Thanks for running these, so hilarious and so humane.

s.z. said...

Once, after I had posted one of my usual hastily written and shallow posts, he commented about the lovely summer evening he had been experiencing, and said he had picked a rose from his garden for me. I think of him whenever I see the roses in my garden. He was so smart and witty and knowledgeable and literate that he could intimidate the hell out of me, but he was also so kind and generous and humane that he made you feel like he was your friend, no matter how inferior to him you were. He should be the template for a new race of mankind.

grouchomarxist said...

That Doghouse Riley was a frequent commenter here has got to be one of the highest recommendations anyone could have. Given his nym, I think it's only appropriate to apply to him what a reviewer once said about Raymond Chandler: "He writes like a slumming angel."

Thanks, Scott. Damn, but I miss that guy!

Weird Dave said...

Still miss you, Dog.

Tracy said...

Riley was the best. I miss him not only here, but at Roy Edroso's joint.

M. Bouffant said...

"made me feel inadequate in the uses of metaphor"
Me too, to the point I don't even use it any more.

Longer yet yesterday indeed.


Helmut Monotreme said...

I miss his insight. I miss the two handed hatchet swings at whichever Republican empty suit happens to be cluttering up the Ohio governor's mansion. The fact that Kasich is running for president of the USA and not 2nd assistant dogcatcher of New Straitsville is the price we pay for his passing.

D. Sidhe said...

Three or four times a week, I find myself wondering what he'd think about something, missing his wit and his kindness. Amazing to have felt so close to someone I'd never even met. Clicking over there still makes me cry. Charlie Pierce mentioned him a while back and the comments filled up with people who've also felt his words.

I think of his wife, too. She sounded like a remarkably strong woman, and I hope she's okay now. Grief levels out, I've found, but it never leaves.