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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   Piels cures diarrhea
Wednesday, July 4 2007
Ray, whose 40th birthday was the chief diversion of two dozen people this past weekend, had spent some time further upstate immediately afterward. But on his way back down to the City he'd decided to spend a few days with me. And by with me, I mean just me, since Gretchen is up in Vermont. I'm not the most social person in the world, and many of my social skills have atrophied under the Gretchen administration, but Ray is good company and I'd encouraged him to come. I hadn't remembered him saying specifically when he'd be arriving, so it came as something of a surprise when he rolled up early this afternoon in his black Saab. With him was his dog Suzy and his dog-nephew Libby, both of them variations on the Black Labrador theme. Before long Libby had eaten all the cat food, which is the annoying thing I always forget about her. The annoying thing I always forget about Suzy is that she likes to bark about absolutely nothing, and she has a particularly loud, vicious-sounding bark.
I'd bought a 12 pack of Piels the other day (it's a cheap beer that comes in cans) and when I offered one to Ray he accepted it, but he warned me that Piels "always gives you the shits." It just so happened that I was already suffering from the shits and I hadn't had any Piels at all, so I figured I had nothing to lose when it came to the quality of my bathroom experiences.
We drank a number of beers out in the shop while I tried to scare up some one and a quarter inch PVC pipe, but it turned out that there was absolutely none whatsoever in the house. So we decided to drive out to Home Depot, which was open despite the fact that today was the 4th of July. That's either very American or very unAmerican, depending on whether or not you consider the thing most Americans actually most like doing quintessentially American.
Since we drove there in Ray's Saab and since it was raining kittens and puppies, I'd hoped to find a short piece of pipe that would fit in the car with the windows rolled up, but the shortest pipe in the size I wanted was ten feet long. So I cut it in half right there in the store using a saw that randomly happened to be there. Thing of which I took special note: the guy overseeing the automatic checkout system should have been suspicious that I scanned only one thing and was carrying two, but he didn't seem to care.
On the way home, we stopped at the Hurley Mountain Inn for an orgy of fried food. It was still early in the evening, and the crowd there was mostly comprised of families. They all looked like the kind of people one sees filling out a crowd at a George W. Bush campaign appearance. The only attractive woman was a 14 year old waitress in a skimpy black cocktail dress. I took a little comfort in the fact that she hadn't been forced to don red, white, and blue, which is the sort of thing the Hurley Mountain Inn has given me reason to expect. As for non-Caucasoid races, Ray had to represent for them all.
Amazingly, the Piels debunked Ray's working theory about its effect on the alimentary canal. By sunset my plumbing had been completely restored to normal function, and my bowel movements no longer sounded like I was dumping out a bucket of used motor oil. Ray had moved on to disparaging other brands of cheap beer, particularly Budweiser. Meanwhile I'd taken to name-checking my latest nominee for most-overrated beer: Corona. (Past nominees have included Heineken and Sam Adams.)

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