Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Recently I fired an employee because others had been spreading lies about her – lies that I quickly believed because to do so was easier than uncovering the truth. Not a lot easier, though. If I had only talked to her first, I would have seen that something was wrong. Later, when I found out that the stories about this woman were exactly backwards, I had to go crawling on my knees to ask the employee to come back to work.

She refused.

Ordinarily I would never have dismissed this person, but I was worried about what people would say when they heard the lies and I thought quick, decisive action might protect me from criticism. And yet now I am being severely criticized.

Even the people who spread the lies are saying I over-reacted. These liars are also suggesting that my boss was behind the whole thing and that now I am lying to cover up for him. To be called a liar by liars – what misery! And the more I say about it, the worse it gets. Plus, the weather the past few days has been very, very hot and uncomfortable.

My antagonists made a terrible mistake, and instead of using it against them, I amplified it and made it my own. I feel like somewhere along the way I agreed to play a nasty, silly game with them, and now I can’t quit playing it even though I want to!

Dr. Babooner, how can I make this madness stop?

Secretary of Blunders

I told S.O.B. that it isn’t unusual to get drawn into a contest so deeply that you forget there is a larger world that operates under different rules than the fake ones that only govern the weird game you are playing. That’s why athletes wear uniforms. Football players know when they’ve got on their big shoulders, their tall socks and the lightning bolts or birds of prey or funny animal horns on their hats that they’re in an environment where it’s OK to knock people down. Soccer players know when they’re wearing shiny shorts they’re not allowed to use their hands. Costumes can be useful that way. Perhaps people in media and politics should wear extravagant uniforms too, especially when they’re pointing fingers at each other. That way maybe we’ll all remember this isn’t real, it is simply a game they can’t stop playing.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

82 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Babooner”

      1. RH is doing an interview of Reynold Philipsek right now. Had to turn it off. That was too big an emotional load to listen to: someone else talking on RH like that. Probably always will be more than I can take.


      2. Thanks for the support, Clyde. I understand how you feel, but the big wheel keeps on turning and the show must go on.
        Mike was kind enough to carry through and conduct an interview with Reynold that we had scheduled back in June.

        The CD release party is Saturday, July 31st (8:00pm) at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior. The new CD (All the Things You Are) will be a free gift with every $12.00 admission. Reynold will be joined by Michael Bissonnette on percussion, Kyle Tennis and Glen Helgeson on guitar. Reservations – (952) 401-7902.


      3. Was that Mike interviewing? Darn!! Then I would have listened. I was working and suddenly heard what was going on and checked out.
        The existentials say of death that there is a dichotomy: 1) the world will forever be changed when die. 2) The world will go right along just fine without us. Jobs are sort of the same way. I went from one of two mangers to bottom peon in one day. So I get to sit here and watch it go along just fine without me, which is sort of your place, isn’t it?


  1. Good Morning Doctors,

    Should S.O.B. wear a clown suit as a reminder that it is not okay to behave like one. Is that a logical choice of clothes for S.O.B. following Dale’s suggestion that people should dress in a way that would be a remind them to be more careful about their behavior. Maybe a few weeks of wearing the clown suit would be enough to improve the behavior of S.O.B. and then if this doesn’t work, S.O.B. could just wear clown clothes as S.O.B.’s official uniform.


    1. i think the sob wears the standard pin stripped clown suit as part of the daily ritual. you see that clown suit everywhere these days


      1. Tim, I think the pin stripped suit is okay, but a big red nose is needed to go with it or an orange wig and a funny hat.


      2. My dad always referred to his rotation of 3-4 suits, light colored shirts, and subdued ties (well, except for a few years in the 70s) as his “work uniform.” He and I had quite informative discussion of the “work uniform” mentality after I started my first post-college office job where I had to wear “grown-up clothes.” No clown shoes or red noses for either of us, though. At least not yet.


    2. I’ve been mentally dressing my coworkers in clown suits all day now… thanks for the visual imagery! It helped me make it through the day!


  2. i do like the idea of uniforms or at least a key to set the premise. my kids use their headphones to let me know when it is time to allow the “you and i are not of the same world” to be acknowledged. my wife has a bootle of windex or a vacumn to let e know it is time to repent about not doing enough, my animals all have their mimes to let me know it is time to go outside, get more food, scratch my ear, my work associates let me know when my attention is needed with one zig or another zag. the politics of the backbiters is a toughie for me though. the whole idea of preparing for lying and deceit
    as a way of life is a protectionist mode i have a tough time with. it is getting to be about time to get the hang of it though. i find as i go through life that if you leave yourself open to allowing others to take advantage, they will. the scheming payton placers who invent traumatic situations and stir up dissatisfaction are the rule not the exception.
    thats why i like the blog. now if we could just get that one blogger to stop those lies and accusations we would all be alright.


  3. Rise and Shine Babooners!

    Beautiful day. The weeds and the prolific basil crop await my attention today.

    It appears to me, Dr. B, that this question is a combination of Saturday’s smart clothes and today’s topic. Clearly uniforms that emphasize a different set of rules are very smart. Perhaps our uniforms have over time contained the codes that we thought Walmart just cooked up. My suggestion is that the Secretary of Agriculture, another former Iowan I might note, don his choice of one traditional uniform of Iowa: overalls, 4H uniforms, or any University of Iowa athletic uniform. After the uniform is on his back, Sec. Vilsack can hit rewind and revisit this course of events.

    P.S. Dale: Several of us posted recipes Saturday for Raspberry Juice and on June 12 in the p.m. I posted a bean salad recipe that never made it to the hallowed halls of Congress.


    1. Jacque,

      I think I managed to move all of Saturday’s recipe’s over to Kitchen Congress.

      I couldn’t find the bean salad recipe in comments on June 12 or July 12, and there’s nothing trapped behind the scenery that wasn’t posted. Hmmm.
      Is it possible to give us the bean salad recipe again today?


      1. Jacque… if you run out of weeds are your place, head on over to mine. Worked like a Trojan (wonder where this phrase comes from) over weekend, but didn’t get to too much weeding.

        I did, unfortunately, discover that a somewhat dim-witted bunny mom, laid her brand new babies in a little hole in my back yard. Wildlife Rehabilitation Center says if I move them at all, they will probably die. If I take them to WRC they will probably die. If I let my dogs out in the yard too often, it will scare off the mom bunny and they will probably die. I hate limited options. So for how, I’ve fenced off the area and am going out w/ the dogs every time to make sure they leave it alone.

        BIG SIGH….. wish bunny mom had been smarter and had babies elsewhere.


    2. On the subject of weeds and basil….
      You can make a nice pesto out of lamb’s quarter if your basil crop comes up short.
      The recipe is essentially the same as a basil pesto recipe. This is what I usually use:
      1/2 cup lamb’s quarter leaves
      3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
      1 heaping tbsp pine nuts (or substitute walnuts or pecans)
      2 tbsp olive oil
      1 clove garlic, minced
      pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
      Process in a food processor.
      Usually when I’ve just harvested and washed the lamb’s quarter, I put in in a jar and cover it with apple cider vinegar till I’m ready to make pesto out of it. Then it has a nice vinegary flavor, good on a toasted baguette with some diced tomatoes.


      1. Thanks Linda, this looks great! When I get back to the garden, I am going to have to go looking for some lamb’s quarters. I am pretty sure I have them in the weed patch I call a garden this year.


      2. I am not familiar with Lamb’s Quarters, but enough basil is not a problem this year. I will arrive at the book group on Sunday with some to give away. Thanks for the recipe.


  4. Good Morning, All
    i like the big red nose, wig and floppy shoes idea. i am so glad that i can’t be fired. i think SOB should get out of the kitchen if she can’t take the heat. not a climate for me either. i once was a manager (because the boss walked out) for about a year. had to fire someone. i asked the HR guy to sit with me when i did it. so i began by giving all the documented reasons and then began to cry. i cried and cried. the guy i was firing said, “oh don’t cry Barb! i deserve to be fired.” geez. i went back to rank and file as soon as i could.
    off to election judge training. hope that doesn’t involve firing. 🙂


      1. Hi Ladies and Gents– took my election judge training last week. I am a judge in our township hall so we know the majority of voters as neighbors… and it’s always kind of fun.

        See ya!


  5. Dear SOB – From your own letter, here is where I think things got off track from the real world:

    “If I had only talked to her first, I would have seen that something was wrong.”

    Talking to folks, one on one – when did that go out of style? Don’t you think talk should precede policies/procedures for disembowelment and dismissal? Common sense and common courtesy – what kind of clothing represents these things? Perhaps a good old t-shirt and a pair of jeans and maybe tennis shoes; I would prefer to wear these things compared to the costumes and uniforms mentioned above. Sadly, the Emperor once again has to be told that his advisors are making a killing in the business of selling invisible clothing – to him.


  6. Perhaps the first order of business should be for everyone to have a few days learning at the feet of Miss Manners about proper discourse and treatment of our fellow human beings. Y’know, that “civil society” stuff, common courtesy, and the other things that make up proper manners that aren’t about which fork to use at dinner. Let Miss Manners work with people until it becomes second nature (again) to say “Please” and “Thank you” and “May I…” Perhaps a special day on the efficacy of sending hand-written notes (in black or blue-black ink) – not only for the long-forgotten thank you notes, but also other important missives. If you have to write something out long-hand, you might think before you speak (or write), and perhaps that would have been enough pause for SOB to think before he fired.


  7. Hello, those who are around.
    I do not know what the blog today is about; some news story I am sure. I have been out of the loop on news of all sorts for a few days. But nobody needs to explain. The subtopic of common courtesy is one on which I am resisting starting for surely I will prove Flaubert correct if I do start: “By dint of railing at idiots, one runs the risk of becoming idiotic oneself.” I have too often in my life fulfilled Flaubert’s admonition.
    My other operative quote for the day is from Bilbo: “I feel like too little butter spread over too much bread.”


  8. I am going to hark back to what Laura Ingalls’ mother used to say:

    “Least said soonest mended”.

    Hopefully a lesson in civil discourse and a reversion to common sense will result.

    I’ll also say that I find it rather refreshing that when someone pulls a HUGE gaff, they say “my bad” and apologize, rather than twisting themselves in knots explaining why they really were in the right, all along. Cast your mind not too far back for that one.

    Up to my neck for the forseeable future. Shall watch your progress with interest.


    1. Ditto about “my bad.” That was the one part of this I did appreciate.

      Why somebody at the SOB did not google Shirely Sherrod, though, is pretty hard to understand. In this day and age it is just not that hard!


  9. I think we need a system of hats. When people are being idiots as so many people were in the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, they could wear dunce caps. Then when they come to their senses, graduation caps… Short of time here or I’d come up with some better ones. Of course, a lot of times you don’t know you’re being an idiot till later.

    Sherilee – good luck with those bunnies. Sigh…


    1. did you not notice that all people with hats do announce who they are every time the put a hat on? hats are very descriptive. if you start assigning hats they are not hats anymore. they are report cards


      1. Hmm, very interesting tim… I wear the typical farmer baseball style cap but I have my dirty old sweat stained hat for actually farming, then the dressier ‘going to church’ hat, and the slightly dirty, sweaty, going ‘out’ to work hats… and a closet full of other hats for special occasions. But I look silly in a cowboy hat… or so my daughter must think because she laughs at me when I try them on…


  10. OT-Dale, a friend of mine took some pictures of Rhonda while she was on vacation and sent them to me-would you like to see them?


  11. My fear is this problem started in the blogosphere. It involved intentional misediting of a video. Are we at risk for something like that being misinterpreted from our own little piece of the blogosphere? What if we don’t wear red noses and someone gets hold of one of our cleverly photoshopped pictures? Next thing you know somebody could be fired or a goat or baboon could be embarrassed


  12. Soooooooooooooo, since we are all so cynical today:

    The Error of YOUR Ways

    You’re not up-to-date, you’re not of my days;
    I will show you the error of your ways.

    You don’t get your wisdom from watching TV,
    Or learn how to hate by going to church.
    You draw a circle that includes way too many.
    We were here first; this is our perch.

    Your life, you don’t know, has been mediocre.
    You do not think as you, no I, ought.
    You don’t even have a personal stock broker.
    Your religion is not what prophets, no I, taught.

    You must listen to one who correctly prays,
    I will teach you the error of your ways.

    My politics are blessed, I know it is so,
    Therefore yours can only be evil.
    Compromise—that we will never do,
    From your policies we must make a retrieval.

    You listen to the wrong people,
    You read the wrong books.
    Truth is preached only under my steeple.
    Mine are the good guys; yours are the crooks.

    Do not think my feet are made of clays,
    I can condemn the error of your ways.

    I can lie; it’s in the right cause.
    Truth it is right for me to bend.
    I talk rapidly, I never pause.
    To other ideas I will not attend.

    I want your money to use as I wish.
    Trust me; if ever I’m caught,
    I will wiggle and squirm like a fish.
    Power, you know, is ever sold and bought.

    You must go; I get to stay,
    For error is found in all but my way.


  13. I’m back in from weeding and badly needing a shower. This post will probably be aromatic. My HD signal was very bad most of the a.m.

    Sherilee, those bunnies become Peter Rabbit and I am, in adulthood, Farmer McGregor!

    Recipe: Lou’s Bean Salad

    1/2 c. Red Wine Vinegar
    1/2 c. Olive Oil
    1 tsp dry tarragon
    1c. or can red beans
    1 c. or can garbanzo beans
    2 c. frozen peas cooked
    1/2 c. red onion, or 1 bunch green onions
    Chopped red pepper is beautiful in the salad too.
    Rinse the beans. Mix it all together. Refrigerate.



    1. Be Farmer McGregor or be a supermakret shopper.
      FYI: those of you who have not seen “Miss Potter,” I highly recommend it. And it is very close to the truth of the surprising story of Beatrix OP.


      1. And then there is a charming series of quaint mysteries based on Beatrix, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert.


    1. Boy does that look like Mahtowa landside.
      Is it all right if I download and print to maybe paint #39, a landscape shot?
      Love that parody of American Gothic. My parents had the pix over their sofa as a joke. I kept telling her that the couple were supposed to be father and daughter, not father and wife. But she did not care about truth. Reminds me of a poem I think by Ogden Nash. “I would much soner have written Trees than all its million parodies.”


      1. Barb – thanks for the blog update update! It always makes me a little envious to see all the beautiful photos and hear the news. When do the little goatlets arrive?


      2. barb and steve–thanks. I love the landscape around Mahtowa. I wait for it when I drive north, four places along 35 I slow down to see. My family thinks I am nuts.


    2. Thanks for the update, Barb.
      I have also added “Out To Pasture” to the blog roll, which appears in the upper right corner of “Trail Baboon” every day. It appears a bit farther down but also on the right hand side of “Kitchen Congress”, and comes up at the very end of “Rhyme Wave” because for poets, even goats are not as important as the agony of the artist struggling with a line of verse.


  14. For those who turn to sweets in hard times (losing a job/getting fired for no good reason), here’s a dangerous recipe for chocolate lovers:

    5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

    4 Tbs flour
    4 Tbs sugar
    2 Tbs cocoa
    1 egg
    3 Tbs milk
    3 Tbs oil
    3 Tbs chocolate chips (optional)
    a small splash of vanilla extract
    1 large coffee mug

    Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

    Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

    Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

    Eat! This is really good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream🙂

    Number of Servings: 1 (This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous)

    Preparation Time: 5 minutes


    1. OMG – finally–a cake where you can satisfy your current sweet tooth, and not pay for it all week because the rest of the cake is sitting there on the counter tempting you!


  15. The clown costumes have me thinking of a very rotund band director I know who used to play piano in Las Vegas in different back up bands. He said that one New Year’s Eve, he was playing wearing a rabbit suit with a top hat. The singer was wearing a clown suit, and was annoying him on purpose by sprinkling confetti on his keyboard. They had it out in a very loud argument in the lobby after the show, still in costume, and my friend wonders what onlookers must have thought. I love the visual of a large stout rabbit and clown, nose to nose, waving their arms and shouting at each other.


    1. Oo! Oo! I have a similar story…
      Working on a college production of ‘Jungalbook’ and one of the ladies playing the panther was sick, so the director- a man- had stepped into her role; costume included. About that time a college security person came in to complain about a car parked at the loading doc. The director, rather busy at the moment and in no mood for this foolishness got into a very heated argument with security– still dressed in the cat suit!
      It’s one of our favorite stories!


  16. we go to pick up the new Girls (Girlettes – they will be 4 months old soon) on thursday afternoon at 1:30. tomorrow i will work on their new pen – to keep them apart from the Big Girls until they get used to the place a bit. if ok with you, Dale, i’ll send some pictures sometime, but i know Steve will do a blog about their arrival quite soon also.
    their names will be “Kona” and “Lassi (said Lah-see)” and we will follow a coffee-theme for Kona’s kids and a milk theme (lassi is an Indian yogurt-based beverage) for Lassi’s kids. Kona is a chamoisee and Lassi is a broken chamoisee. Lassi looks a lot like a young Dream. if you want to know all of the color descriptions for Alpines – (and other breeds) check out the ADGA website:


    1. I’ll bet they are darling. I read the descriptions from the ADGA. It was always said of my paternal grandfather that he had a Roman nose. I don’t ever think of him looking like a goat. Maybe goats resemble my grandfather instead?


      1. Roman nose is the breed standard for Nubians. concave or straight nose bridge is breed standard for Alpines. these standards are supposed to be the best for healthy goats, long life with good productions. but i don’t see how a nose makes much difference – Roman or not. but i bet your grandfather was handsome.


    1. Clyde, you’re making me laugh even with whatever mood you’re in.
      RE: those Bx Potter mysteries, they pick up where the movie left off, and I should warn you, the animals play vital roles. 🙂 I recommend reading them in order.


      1. clyde you need a pet. dogs and cats require lots. i will help you with fish if you are interested. they will keep you occupied, reduce blood pressure and surprisingly become something you gain a feel for. try it grouchy. the tank water needs to sit for a month before you add fish so get started and if you decide to dump the idea all you are out is the water.
        every garage sale on the planet has an aquarium in it for 10 dollars to begin


  17. No room for a reply after your entry tim, but why does the tank have to sit for a month? Does it depend on the fishes? I had goldfish when I was a kid…

    How’d baseball go today?


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