Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene

Overwhelmed By The Times, Another American Business Closes

We, here at The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond, have always been advocates for and supporters of small businesses, including (sometimes against my better judgement) those started by my good friend, Eugene, and his pal Purly. In 2010 we featured their Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods as that style of fishing was gaining wide acceptance and in 2012 we introduced the world to Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits. (Click this link to read that original post.)

It is with great regret we announce today that the manufacture of Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits has ceased. Sadly, the failure of this business is a result of the unsettled times in which we find ourselves. Born of a metaphor and nurtured on hyperbole, Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits were at one time considered “at least adequate” by untold numbers of customers, satisfied or not. Abandoned now in favor of more extreme measures, affected by a pandemic and caught up in events beyond their control, Eugene and Purly have been forced to close the doors. Join us now as we remember an innovative, truly American product, including exclusive, behind the scenes photos.

Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kit Headquarters

Barack Obama had just been elected to a second term when Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits hit the market. Their original ad copy spoke to the mood of the country:

We are faced with many issues in these troubled times, and some people would have you believe that these issues are complicated, difficult to understand, and worthy of thoughtful conversation.

Poppycock!

Everyone knows it’s winner-take-all these days, so quit screwing around with careful reasoning and listening to the other side! You need bold rhetorical strokes to shut the other guy up, and you want the broadest brush possible to paint him into a corner when logic fails. Our selection of new products gives you everything you need to win any argument!

The 12″ Mini Brush

Many a dinner table “discussion” was put to a stop by one of their 12″ “mini” brushes and the reach of its 6′ handle. Word spread and the orders poured in, capably processed by enthusiastic staff working in immaculate surroundings, using a filing system that one expert described as “indescribable”.

Order Processing Facility

Customers who didn’t have time for stuff like “facts”, “logic”, and “choices” also appreciated the narrow range of colors offered, described in the literature as “the only two colors that matter these days!

Color #1: Black

Color #2: White

Orders increased very quickly, as people stocked up with a supply of each color. You never knew what color the next guy would be using or when you might need to change things up, just to keep the morons off balance. More raw materials were required, along with storage, so an annex was added and a Chief Materials Foreman was hired to insure uniformity and quality. The system and methods he initiated were viewed by modern efficiency experts as “absolutely unbelievable.”

Raw Material Grading

The workers in the Shipping Department displayed teamwork and ingenuity as they fulfilled their duties. Their dedication was recognized by many customers, one of whom wrote that their packing methods were “beyond imagination.”

Shipping

Rapid growth defined Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits for the next several years but demand exploded in the summer of 2016. Concentrating on their most popular category, production of extra-large brushes was increased while researchers sought ways to make bigger and bigger brushes. Eugene and Purly showed appreciation to their workers, leveraging their success to provides niceties such as “breaks”.

Preparing Coffee in the Employee Break Area

Pandemic-Ready Modern Restroom and Sanitation Facilities were also installed.

Modern Facilities

Relying on word of mouth and a dedicated force of Professional Sales Representatives, countless records were set and business was on an upward trajectory, like a spaceship.

Professional Sales Representative

Meanwhile, folks were painting in broader and broader strokes, the likes of which no one had ever seen. They were also demanding brushes of constantly increasing size. Supplies of ingredients for proprietary paint formulas became harder to find and shortages developed. It was unclear how long Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Number Kits could live up to its promise that, “these two colors absolutely will not, under any circumstances, mix together, enabling you to make your case with no shades of gray! They actually repel each other, and are also permanent, so no one (not even you) will ever be able to change your mind!

The previous high standards were relaxed and paints began to smear. Surprisingly, many people wanted smears and smearing became a craze. Bold rhetorical flourishes looked to be in danger. It has come to pass that broad strokes, being plural, require too much engagement for some people, many of whom don’t want to change their minds anyway.

In an effort to meet these changing requirements, a high-priced Consultant was engaged in January of 2020. He worked diligently until he fainted with exhaustion that afternoon, but as he slid to the floor he mumbled something about the World’s Biggest Brush.

High-Priced Consultant, Hard at Work

Such a project would involve huge expenditures, for which Eugene and Purly sought financing. Unable to secure loans via traditional avenues such as banks (something about needing a Social Security Number), more creative means were employed, mostly barter and arm twisting. Precision equipment was needed, along with personnel to run it, and these were obtained in short order.

Modern Precision Equipment

For the base of the World’s Biggest Brush, it was decided that ash was the appropriate wood to use. In plentiful supply, and cheap, due to the number of ash trees in Vermont being cut down to save them from the Emerald Ash Borer, an imported, invasive pest, ash only made sense. Log after log was processed, milled, and joined until, this summer, the base of the brush was large enough that no brush anywhere else could possibly be bigger.

A discussion ensued regarding the fairness of making only one giant brush so it was decided to cut the base in two, which took a day and a half. Only the firmest, strongest opinions could ever lift either piece, but Eugene and Purly were confident they would sell and felt this was the best choice as it would solve the problem of having one color of paint left over.

Paint color itself became an issue as events unfolded over the summer. The choice of either black or white suddenly seemed quite inappropriate. Aware that they were creating the new problem of having two colors of paint left over, Eugene and Purly set about finding two new colors to replace them. Eugene suggested his favorite color, which is Safety Green, which Purly complimented with his, Hunter Orange. Focus groups shielded their eyes and agreed they had rarely seen a combination like that one.

Innumerable holes were carefully drilled in the two brush bases, in anticipation of the imported bristles, due in from China at the beginning of July, which is about the same time U.S. Customs Agents raided the headquarters of Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits, Inc. The 13 tons of brush bristles they’d ordered had been confiscated at the docks and turned out to not be brush bristles at all, but cosmetic weaves made from real human hair, suspected to be that of political prisoners in Chinese camps. Convinced Eugene and Purly knew nothing about such things and were, indeed, shocked and appalled at the thought, the Agents departed, as did the dream of building the World’s Two Biggest Brushes.

Eugene and Purly remain philosophical about their foray into politics. They have scrapped their plans to develop a two-handed brush for internet use, though, because, as Purly put it, “Black and white just aren’t good enough for some people any more. Our brushes were never intended for lies, anyway. That’s what the internet’s for, I guess.”

It’s nearly August and to men like Eugene and Purly that means it’s time to start thinking ahead to winter and, quite frankly, they have just about had it with people. They are back at their place above Horrible Swamp, off Lower Skunk Hollow Road, where you will find them strictly enforcing social-distancing rules — meaning if you’re not them and get hit with bird shot, you’re too close.

The former employees of Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Number Kits, Inc. have been working hard, cutting the bases for the World’s Two Biggest Brushes into smaller pieces, as the new employees of Eugene and Purly’s Exceptionally Large Cribbage Board Company. Once they figure out how to move those pieces indoors they hope to have the painted boards available in time for Christmas. Limited Colors. Shipping extra. Pegs not included.

Categories: Humor, politics, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back by Popular Demand: A Timeless Product from Eugene and Purly!

Originally introduced in December of 2012, Eugene and Purly really hit the mark with this one!

Listening to the radio while painting a barn last fall, my friend, Eugene, and his pal, Purly, were inspired to create another timely product. Originally planned for release but delayed by concerns about toxicity, I am pleased to announce those concerns have been addressed. Once again, against my better judgement, I present one of their ideas to the general public:

Eugene and Purly’s Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits

We are faced with many issues in these troubled times, and some people would have you believe that these issues are complicated, difficult to understand, and worthy of thoughtful conversation.

Poppycock!

Everyone knows it’s winner-take-all these days, so quit screwing around with careful reasoning and listening to the other side! You need bold rhetorical strokes to shut the other guy up, and you want the broadest brush possible to paint him into a corner when logic fails. Our selection of new products gives you everything you need to win any argument!

Available in a variety of sizes, our large-capacity brushes will allow you to slap it on, real good and thick. Go ahead, load ‘er up and marvel at the complete coverage!

Our 12" 'mini' brush.

Our 12″ ‘mini’ brush.

 Our 12″ mini-brush is just the right size to put a stop to those pesky “conversations” at the dinner table. Your guests will be stunned at how quickly you put them in their place, even those at the other end of the table, who will be surprised as all get out by the extra long reach of our six foot handle! Other models include proverbial ten foot poles for touchy subjects, and our extra-large, two-handed model (currently under development for internet use) will cover any subject simply, completely and thoroughly. All of our brushes are sturdy enough to be used with all the force you can muster, filling corners and gaps with ease. For especially stubborn opponents, they also work with tar!

With our new Political Discourse Paint by Number Kits, stupid stuff like “subtlety”, “nuance”, and “facts” will be things of the past. “Details”? Who needs ’em? Not you, when you’re spreading it thick with one of these babies! Those things just get in the way for some folks, but with these kits you will achieve smooth, even coverage and a flawless finish that will leave those morons speechless.

Just as “facts” and “logic” can gum up the works, many people find themselves also struggling with complications like “choices”, but we’ve got that covered too! No more messing around with green, red, blue, or any of those other confusing colors used by eggheads and dummies, because we have narrowed our selection down to the only two colors that matter these days!

Choose one:

#1- BLACK

#1- BLACK

#2- WHITE

#2- WHITE

Our own special proprietary formulas ensure that these two colors absolutely will not, under any circumstances, mix together, enabling you to make your case with no shades of gray! They actually repel each other, and are also permanent, so no one (not even you) will ever be able to change your mind!

Our Political Discourse Paint by Numbers Kits will allow you to cover any issue you can think of simply and easily. Everyone else seems to have one, shouldn’t you?

Stop thinking and order yours today!

(Specify color, brush size. May not be available in all areas.)

Other products by Eugene and Purly include Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods, Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Flies and Mouse Pie.

Categories: politics, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Don We Now Archaic Barrel

We’re usually pretty well conditioned to winter by the time the solstice rolls around, but not this year. The lake iced over in November, as expected, and up went the signs admonishing those who read to stay off, but the ice went away. The signs stayed up though, for surely the ice would return, which it did for a few days before melting again.

The signs are still there and I know where the long-johns are, just in case, but the unusually mild weather we’ve been experiencing has made both about as useful as white fur on a bunny so far. There’s no snow in the woods or on the hills but at least the roads are nice and muddy.

If winter ever does decide to show up, we’re ready.

Stay Off The Ice -- if you see any.

Stay Off The Ice — if you see any.

Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fishing Fools

It certainly has been an unusual year, and it all started when my friend Eugene (see Careful with that Axe, Eugene) told me of a fish he had seen. Even allowing for his usual inflation percentages I had a hard time believing him when he described its immense size. Certain that between the two of us we could catch any fish that ever swam, I went along with his plan to hook this behemoth, hoping at least to prove the outrageous nature of his exaggeration.

Only one bait would do for a fish such as the one Eugene described and I knew it was best to gather such bait early, before the warmth of the sun made them active and more difficult to subdue. Starting at noon was certainly not to our advantage but it was good sport nonetheless and it wasn’t long before we had a good supply.

Gathering Bait

Gathering Bait

Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Gear, for Fishing Guides Only!

Brothers and sisters, another season is nearly upon us!

Here at Fish in a Barrel Pond that means a steady stream of anglers, all running amok, and demanding just a bit more attention than any of us might be able, or willing, to give. Combining my experience around outdoors folk and anglers, with some ingenuity and good old Yankee know-how, provided by my friend Eugene and his pal Purly, I believe we have come up with a system that will benefit you, the working guide, no matter how many clients may be in your charge.

The first part of our System is based on an Australian concept, introduced to us via our research facility in Sweden, and is really quite simple.

Staging areas, boat launches, and parking lots can be hectic places, especially with a bunch of confused, belligerent anglers milling around and getting in the way. Conceived as a way to keep groups in one place so I could have a little peace and quiet once in a while, we have adapted our Original Angler Containment Area™ to your needs, creating a lightweight, portable solution that you can use anywhere. (Complete kit $9.99 does not include curbing, plastic chairs or water. Pretty Floating Rings™ sold separately. Comes with Basic Instructions™)

Notice how those anglers, like so many of their kind, naturally gravitate to water that could not possibly hold fish. What a nice way to keep them out of your hair, yet close by, where you can keep an eye on them! The addition of Pretty Floating Rings™, in bright primary colors, allows you to increase the numbers that gather by exploiting their natural competitive instincts, and for an even greater haul of anglers, promise cookies.

Early prototypes of these Angler Containment Areas™ included tall fences, but anglers had to be coaxed in far enough to not escape through the gate before it slammed shut. In an effort to address issues of aesthetics, as well as reduce the number of serious injuries, the fences and gates were replaced with buried wires and the anglers were required to wear electric shock collars, which they were told were benign and only for identification purposes. When they entered the Angler Containment Area™ to eat cookies and show off, the system was turned on and, once the yelping stopped, they seemed content. For a while, at least.

But there were problems with that system, and it was in overcoming them that we were inspired to create the component that is going to change the control and containment of anglers forever! Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Chef Gordon Ramsay in Vermont?

According to the Woodstock Early Bird, Chef Gordon Ramsay — or, at least his film crew — is in Vermont this weekend. Dear oh dear oh dear.

Considering what I’ve made up learned about him, I am not surprised to hear he and his film crew have become separated. Hey, it happens. I am not surprised he has finally made it to Vermont, but I don’t think it’s because of Vermont’s “foodie” culture or special culinary stand-outs. I just hope he hasn’t brought his lawyers with him.

It’s been nearly two years since his encounter with my friend Eugene and his pal Purly. Frankly, I expected to hear from him much sooner. Better late than never, I guess.

From the archives, dated March 30, 2010: Eugene, Purly and Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Yo, Gordo! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the guy in the icy water, working a shovel. Come on over.

 

Categories: Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Return of Quill Gordon

It was a dark and stormy night. Some say my friend, Eugene, was riding a door strapped to a couple of compressed gas cylinders; others say it was some kind of jet-propelled ironing board. What he was riding is not important now but all accounts agree that at about the time the river was cresting Eugene shot downstream in a long, horizontal spiral like a bottle rocket.

Over dams and under bridges — in some cases over bridges — Eugene rode the raging floodwaters of Irene through the night and into the next day. And the next and the next, eventually drifting into Long Island Sound, where he was sighted aboard what appeared to be a horse trough, using his trousers for a sail. Plucked from the water by a passing pleasure craft, Eugene was then taken ashore, where he was tended to by a group of lovely women who, it turns out, were the stars of a television show about themselves. It also turns out they were drinking quite a lot and things became, as Eugene put it, “a tad competitive.”

The general consensus, once everyone was sober and Eugene found his trousers, was that it would be best if no one ever spoke again about what had just taken place, so the next time you happen to find yourself searching the internet for the truth behind this September’s firings among the cast of Real Housewives of New York, read those articles twice. Notice how carefully all parties avoid any mention whatsoever of my friend Eugene. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods

Tenkara is an old Japanese method of fishing, conceived as a way to yank fish from small streams. Generating a lot of interest lately, its American adherents are practically swooning. It turns out that my friend Eugene has been using similar methods for years and his desire to simplify the gentle art of angling (see “… teach a man to fish …”) has naturally led him to Tenkara. Feeling uniquely qualified, he is anxious to share his expertise. He’s also fairly sure he can make a buck or two doing it.

Eugene has tried his hand at home decor (see “A Craft Project With My Friend, Eugene”) and he has dabbled in the culinary arts (see “Mouse Pie”). His qualifications are indeed unique but I sometimes wonder about him as an entrepreneur, especially when he involves his pal Purly (see “The Disappearance of Ethan Allen”). Still, I do what I can to help them out, usually against my better judgement.

With a reminder — nay, a plea — to obey all fish and game laws, I give you:

EUGENE & PURLY’S FREE RANGE, ORGANIC, RENEWABLE, HAND CRAFTED, VERMONT ARTISANAL TENKARA RODS  Continue reading

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Mouse Pie

 

The leaves are turning, early it seems, and around here that means more people from other places will be showing up to see them.  Every small town and village tries to get those people to stop, linger and spend money by hosting craft fairs, food fests, art shows, etc. and ours is no exception. My friend Eugene and his pal Purly are looking to get in on the action with a booth on the green where they can offer up real, honest to goodness Vermont food, educate folks about a different way of life and maybe make a few bucks along the way, even though their first experience with food and outsiders didn’t go very well (see “Eugene, Purly and Chef Gordon Ramsay“).

When Eugene stopped by this week, searching for ingredients, I was happy to help. Unfortunately, he and Purly originally wanted to serve up Teriyaki Beaver on a Stick but beaver season doesn’t start until November and all I had to offer was a couple of frozen hind quarters (freshness is of utmost importance). They were, however, able to come up with an authentic recipe they could use and for which I can provide ingredients in abundance. It’s a win-win, as they say. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Rural Life, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eugene and the Dangers of Shatter Proof Glass

When word got out, a couple of weeks ago, that I was going to make the 30 mile drive to the closest thing we’ve got to a city around  here, my friend Eugene jumped at the chance to tag along. He must have jumped, although he could have dropped from a tree for all I know, into the bed of my truck just past Peavy Flat, where the road narrows and you have to slow down so as to not run over Purly Coutermarche’s dogs. By the time I noticed him back there it was too late to turn around and take him home so I agreed he could come, but because I didn’t want to get a ticket for having a passenger in the bed of a truck on the highway I covered him with a tarp and told him to stay out of sight. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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