The Latest Breakthrough By A Michigan Tech Startup

Available wherever obsolete electronics are sold.

Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster
The Haven


Photo from The Useless Wiki, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (CC BY-SA)

Once again, a tech startup in Michigan has shown that venture capitalists are better than the rest of us at picking smart investments. The startup’s latest invention: the DVD movie rewinder. In one swell foop, it’s cornered a market everyone else missed.

During in the 1980s and ’90s, rewinders were used for movies on VHS tape cassettes.¹ The kind rented to the public by Family Video, Hollywood Video, and Blockbuster. They became obsolete in 1997, when movies began to be recorded on DVDs. For some reason, electronics companies didn’t try to sell DVD rewinders. This Michigan tech company has seized that opportunity. They’re offering a “smart” DVD rewinder. Customers control it with an app on their smartphone. They can select two speeds in reverse and one forward. And while the DVD is rewinding, the app entertains them with a GIF.

GIF by Justin Gammon on GIPHY

The startup is located on the Leelanau, a remote peninsula in Michigan’s Up North known for vast cherry and apple orchards, a hundred miles of scenic Lake Michigan shoreline, and ingenious amateur inventors. During the day, they’re tractor mechanics, boatyard machinists, warehouse electricians, and muffler welders. Weeknights and weekends, they’re dabblers and tinkerers.

In January 2022, a dozen of them decided to stop tinkering and get serious. They’d become big-time entrepreneurs. They needed capital to enter the big leagues, of course. They knew just where to get it.

Elizabeth Holmes had just been convicted of defrauding investors in Theranos, the company she founded, and which she claimed to have created a revolutionary machine for testing blood.² The machine was just vaporware.³ But it was all Holmes needed to gaslight⁴ investors. She took:

  • Jim C. Walton of the Walton family, which founded WalMart, for $150 million;
  • Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins, Fox News, Fox Sports, and the Fox Network, for $125 million;
  • Betsy DeVos, whose clan owns the Amway home care, health, and beauty company, and who was the Secretary of Education in the Trump Administration, for $100 million; and
  • Alexander C. Taylor, whose family owns the Cox cable TV, automotive, and news media conglomerate, for $100 million.⁵

The Michiganders figured these whales⁶ were itching to recoup their losses. But after Theranos, they’d be suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Startup Disorder). To grab their attention, the Michiganders would offer them a radically new kind of startup. Instead of high tech, their’s would create fair-to-middlin’ tech. Instead of bleeding edge concepts, it’s concepts would be turned out with a cookie cutter. It won’t use best practices, just garden variety. There’ll be no deep dives, just dog-paddling on the surface. Decisions will be based on WAGs (wild-ass guesses). If something is mission-critical, it’ll use a SWAG (a scientific wild-ass guess). It won’t reach for low-hanging fruit, just what can be picked up off on the ground. It won’t try to beat the competition, just be par for the course. And if the startup screws the pooch, that’s ok; it’ll use lube.

As for the startup’s name, the Michiganders followed Holmes’s lead, and made it a portmanteau. Holmes blended the words “therapy” and “diagnosis” to create “Theranos.” The Michiganders blended the names of the crossroads where the dairy barn used as their R&D center was located. It was at the intersection of Konrad and Jobson roads. So they named their company “Konjob.”

The Michiganders got lucky; the whales were willing to meet with them. But one thing came through loud and clear. The whales, humiliated after being taken in by Holmes, weren’t about to be fooled again. “I was intimidated when I met with Betsy DeVos,” said Konjob’s CEO, Bob Ponzi.⁷ “She aimed to do rigorous due diligence.”

Former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.

“Furthermore,” said Bob, “she had a checklist to perform the due diligence. It included items like:

  1. Don’t make an effort to understand the startup’s technologies.
  2. Don’t bother visiting its research, development, and manufacturing facilities.
  3. Don’t waste money on technical, financial, legal, and regulatory experts to assess the startup’s claims.
  4. Accept indirect, deflective, or evasive answers to questions.
  5. Accept excuses that the requested information is a trade secret.
  6. Always take grandiose claims at face value.
  7. Overlook technical, financial, and managerial red flags.
  8. Allow myself to be manipulated by flattery, puffery, blarney, or appeals to my ego.
  9. Get carried away by the prospect of getting in on the ground floor.
  10. Be rushed into making an immediate investment by believing that, if I delay, I’ll lose the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Actually,” said Konjob’s Director of Investor Relations, Edna Huckster, “that wasn’t the checklist she meant to use. Betsy couldn’t find it in her purse. What Bob described is the checklist she used to evaluate Theranos.⁸ She went ahead with that one. Betsy couldn’t wait to hear about our Konjob.”

Betsy DeVos searching her purse for her due diligence checklist. Lovehoney screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

The due diligences by the other whales were equally thorough. Rupert Murdoch was impressed. “Konjob’s team reminds me of the politicians my Fox News has hyped for president,” said Rupert. “Especially Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Ron DeSantis.⁹ When my guys interviewed them, they had an answer for every question. Of course, it was usually for a question they wanted to be asked, not the one that was.”

Having satisfied themselves that Konjob was the real deal, the whales ponied up $10 million dollars apiece.

Konjob’s first product was inended to appeal to the investors. It significantly improves the most important tool in the business world. The one which persuades executives to fund risky mega-projects. Assures a board of directors that a shaky acquisition is a sure thing. Soothes shareholder anxieties about a dicey merger. Proves to banks that Management has done its due diligence. Dismisses concerns about legal exposures. Furls regulator red flags about shaky numbers. Demonstrates that a strategic initiative achieved its objectives. And justifies the resulting executive pay increases and bonuses. That tool is the aluminum, cigar-sized laser pointer used in business presentations. When clamped onto its barrel, Konjob’s product increases the laser pointer’s accuracy by a factor of ten. It’s name: the Laser Pointer Pointer®.

The Laser Pointer Pointer. Screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

Konjob’s next product was a game-changer in the underwear market. As everyone knows, men want to get the most out of their tighty-whiteys. They won’t pitch them just because their bat and balls keep falling out; they’ll just shove a hand down the front of their pants and tuck ’em back in. They won’t toss them because the elastic failed; a guy will attach a set of clip-on suspenders. Wives usually go along with it. But there’s one thing they won’t abide: laundering undies with long, dark hash marks. So how can a man get a few more years out of his skivvies? He’s buys Konjob’s Tighty-Whitey Hashmark Hider®. Just roll it across the knicker’s landing strip a few times, and the hashmark disappears beneath the ink. Granted, Konjob could have improved the product: a tighty-whitey would look better if the Hider’s ink was white.

The Tighty-Whitey Hashmark Hider. Screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

Successful as those inventions have been, Konjob prefers the home health care market.

One popular product is its Prostate Exam Finger Extenders®. It’s for guys who are too embarrassed to be poked by a stranger. All a man has to do is drop his drawers and yank down his undies. Strap the Extenders onto his fingers. Bend over forward ’til his head is ‘tween his knees. Then fish around up his keister, find the prostate, and poke it a few times to get the lay of the land. The Extender is especially helpful for guys with “shy” prostates. That’s the kind which doesn’t like to be fingered, so it plays hide ’n seek in the abdominal cavity. The trick is to put the prostate at ease. Don’t just slam, bam, thank you gland. Dim the lights. Put on some soft music. Have the Extender make small-talk with the gland. Offer to buy it a drink. Oh, and don’t forget to slather the Extender with plenty of lube.

Prostate Exam Finger Extenders. Screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

Another hot product is Konjob’s Colonoscopy Kit®. It contains everything a person needs to give themselves a colonoscopy in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

There’s the Prep¹⁰ to give one’s self a good flushing-out. Konjob’s contains chopped apples, raisins, and chickpeas. Those are the fillers, like the cornstarch which makes up the bulk of an aspirin pill. The active ingredients are a half-pound of steel-cut oats and raw psyllium husks.¹¹ A half-pound of methylcellulose,¹² a thickener found in milkshakes, ice creams, and salad dressings, and which in large doses is a potent laxative. And a quart of Navy coffee, a robust brew that’ll dissolve a spoon thats left in the mug too long, and does the same to whatever it encounters in the gut. Put them all in a blender, make a smoothie, and chug it. Then head to the bathroom, ’cause it won’t take long.

The kit contains a toilet paper rifle. That’s because the best defense against high-volume runs is rapid-fire toilet paper. When the Prep starts to work, a person need only shoot a single sheet when they pull the trigger. Five minutes later, they’ll need to switch the selector to six-sheet bursts. Five minutes more, they’ll have to select full-auto. The gun can go through a hundred-and-fifty-sheet roll of TP in twenty-five seconds. That’s why it comes with a high-capacity magazine containing four rolls. Granted, a toilet paper gun sounds like overkill. Don’t worry: the only thing which might be found guilty of using “excessive force”¹³ is your colon.

Toilet Paper Rifle. Screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

The last items are the tools for examining the colon. The kit doesn’t include a colonoscope. Instead, Konjob provides an LED light glove and a speculum. The person doing the exam — a spouse, say, or a really good friend — uses the speculum to open the poop chute enough to peek inside. Then they slip on the glove, switch on its lights, and conduct kind of an Easter egg hunt, only they’re looking for polyps.

Colon Exam Light Gloves. Screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

Knob’s biggest seller is its cure for erectile dysfunction: the Smart Boner®. Installation is a breeze. A guy hammers a thumbtack-sized vasodilator onto his scrotum near the internal pudendal artery. Whenever he expects to reach third base with a woman or hit a homer, he activates the vasodilator with a smartphone app called the Stiffy Wizard®. The Wizard lets him choose from a selection of erections: Morning Glory, Oral Presentation, Stand And Deliver, Gym Class Hero, Diamond Cutter.

To no one’s surprise, Rupert Murdoch, Konjob’s biggest investor, wanted to Beta Test¹⁴ the Smart Boner. “My donger has always had a mind of its own,” said Rupert, who’s gone through four wives. “Now, thanks to the Smart Boner, it’s got artificial intelligence!”

Unfortunately for Rupert, he encountered problems which hadn’t turned up during the first phase of testing.

For starters, Rupert stows his smartphone in his rear pants pocket. As a result, he occasionally butt-dials a boner.

Rupert Murdoch covering his tallywhacker after butt-dialing a woody. Photo by Godot2000 on Flickr.

Another problem: the vasodilator is powered by a lithium battery. That can ignite when exposed to high heat — which it’s apt to do, considering where it’s installed. Rupert found this out the hard way. Luckily for him, he only burned off his short ’n curlies.

Finally, the vasodilator is powerful for its size. If a guy’s not careful, the pressure in his baloney can be measured in pounds per square inch. When this happened to Rupert, he didn’t get turned into a eunuch. He just blew part of the nose cone off his crotch rocket.

[1]: VHS, Wikipedia,

[2]: “Elizabeth Holmes guilty of 4 counts of fraud, acquitted of 4 in Theranos trial”, NBC News,

[3]: “Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and the Patenting of Vaporware”, BlawgIT,

[4]: “Gaslighting”, Psychology Today,

[5]: “The People Who Invested In Theranos”, The Org,

[6]: “10 Most Popular Terms in the Millennial Trading Lingo”, Medium, Geek Culture,

[7]: “Ponzi scheme”, U. S. Securities And Exchange Commission,

[8]: “What Red Flags? Elizabeth Holmes Trial Exposes Investors’ Carelessness”, The New York Times,

[9]: “Fox News Isn’t a Kingmaker”, The Atlantic,

[10]: “What to know about colonoscopy prep drinks”, Medical News Today,

[11]: “8 Benefits Of Psyllium Husk”, Medical News Today,

[12]: Methylcellulose, National Library of Medicine,

[13]: “Excessive Force”, Cornell Law School,

[14]: Beta Test, TechTarget,



Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster
The Haven

Retired high school social studies teacher in Michigan’s Up North. I’m a Presbyterian spinster, but I’m no Angel.