MODERN WISDOM #174 APRIL 2013

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
NUMBER 174
APRIL 2013
Copyright 2013 Francis DiMenno
http://dimenno.gather.com
dimenno@gmail.com

AND NOW…MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS:

1. EVERYNOIR
2. THE POLICEMAN’S BIBLE
3. MOMMY & DADDY IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE
4. THE HUBRIS BROTHERS
5. YESTERDAY, INC.
6. THE OHIO DIET
7. THE TWELVE PRESIDENTS
8. COUNTING COUP ON THE TURNPIKE
9. THE EXPLODING MANTRA
10. THE FACT OF NOTHING IS BEAUTIFUL
11. NICKELS, DIMES & QUARTERS
12. SUPERHERO VERITIES
13. USELESS APPENDAGES OF A SHATTERED REGIME
14. WELCOME TO PERFECTION
15. YOUR PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE YOUR BACK
16. MINDSET LISTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
17. SPEAK ENGLISHO OR GO TO HELLO
18. YOUTH IS AN ILIAD; OLD AGE IS AN ODYSSEY
19. I CAN KNOW TWO THINGS AT ONCE
20. COMMERCIAL INSURGENCIES
21. PSYCHOTIC ENTREPRENEURS
22. DELIBERATE CHINTZ
23. QUOTATION-MARK ROCK
24. SUPER-REPORTER: A MILD-MANNERED MAN
25. THE WIT & WISDOM OF CALIGULA

26. THE WISDOM OF THE WRONG HERO
During the bulk of my comedy career, such as it was, particularly from 1990 to 1998, I performed using an entire persona which might have been characterized as “Gutteral Croak by Menacing Alien.” I would appear masked and costumed on stage–mostly at music venues–as the outer space standup comedian known as The Wrong Hero. This month’s sampler:

When you rant at strangers, people call you crazy. Unless you happen to be Irish; then they call you a “storyteller”.

This Easter Sunday, let us ponder this sacred conundrum: What if the crucifixion was just a friendly dice game that went terribly terribly wrong?

I believe that all life is sacred–unless I just don’t like you.

I’m in love with the spotlight–because I’m afraid of my own shadow.

My dreams for America are as big as America itself. And they will probably disappear down an America-sized rat hole.

I want you to remember–no matter how strangely I act in the days to come–I JUST DO WHAT THE GUN TELLS ME TO DO!

I think we should abolish the World Bank and the IMF– so that poor people can starve in peace, without arrogant interference by American imperialists.

I have two devils on my shoulders. One’s a good devil. The other one’s…just a fuckin’ devil, I guess.

I went looking for a cross between fame and fortune. And I’ve found it. It’s called Famine.

Just when I thought I’ve seen everything, I’m starting to develop cataracts.

27. NOIR MISFORTUNE COOKIES

301. Only you will think your pathetic excuses are amusing.
302. Your long-abandoned son has vowed to destroy you.
303. The Circus Dog scratched you; the infection will be fatal.
304. The male jury will never convict your attractive murderess.
305. Listen, Mister: Even God is tired of You.
306. Not even Wal-Mart or McDonald’s will hire you.
307. Your final words will be uttered through broken teeth.
308. Cheap bourbon and disappointment will be your steady diet.
309. Your tormentor is a registered nurse, skilled in inflicting pain.
310. A giggling psycho will throw your mother out a window.
311. They all recognize you by your thousand-yard stare.
312. Your backgammon technique marks you as a former jailbird.
313. All’s not right with the world while you’re in it.
314. Your employers are plotting to have you arrested and fired.
315. Your unmarked grave will be routinely vandalized.
316. If they gave Value Stamps with rotgut, you could open a warehouse.
317. Broken race-track touts are not entitled to collect unemployment.
318. The crooked sawbones who writes your scripts has been arrested.
319. Every light you see will be a setting sun.
320. Your bogus madhouse act is now becoming all too real.
321. A liquor store clerk will pocket your winning lottery ticket.
322. Pray that you never discover the whole truth.
323. Your enemies will be the smartest people you ever knew.
324. Give up, Punchy. Fifteen rounds with Kid Destiny and you’re washed up.
325. The whiskey was your only friend but now it’s gone.
326. They all know you as one who can be trifled with.
327. No matter where you step the ground is shifting.
328. You will continue to torture yourself–for it WAS your fault.
329. Born in the Gutter, you’ve never lost your taste for it.
330. You’ve devised 101 ways to escape–all will fail.
331. Your distant past is a wound that will never heal.
332. That hostile barroom brawler is nicknamed Karate Motherfucker.
333. The Police Captain you shot was a short-timer.
334. The Yardbirds shun you–even they deplore your crime.
335. The investigator knows you are an incurable Firebug.
336. Because you refused to bend, you will be broken.
337. Treason is the mildest name for your transgressions.
338. Your identity has been stolen by a corrupt Nigerian.
339. You are falsely listed as ringleader of the Subversives.
340. You are marked for liquidation by a vengeful spymaster.
341. Your most mundane activities are being closely scrutinized.
342. You have mistakenly offended the Man With the Twisted Face.
343. The Police are very interested in your friendship with “Boris”.
344. They know you caused the Election Day race riot.
345. They will not even allow you to commit suicide.
346. Racketeers resent your friendship with the new Mayor.
347. You will be sorry until the day you die.
348. Newspaper accounts of bizarre murders hint at your complicity.
349. Your boat will be manned by a skeleton crew–literally.
350. You will be arrested for selling cats as rabbit meat.
351. Surely your current infamy will linger indefinitely.
352. A washed-up comedian will dispense wisecracks at your funeral.
353. You are too weak to work but too sturdy to beg.
354. Burglars will murder your teacup Chihuahua.
355. You cannot sweep it under the rug–don’t even try.
356. You will sell your kidney to pay an angry loan shark.
357. Be a man–kill yourself now, before they find you.
358. In your case, the Final Judgment is long overdue.
359. You are even a failure at suicide.
360. Your enemy will steal your mother’s corpse.
361. The Big Man is dead certain you’re giving him the runaround.
362. Face it. Nobody even pretends to understand–or care.
363. You were, are, and always will be Doomed.
364. Your dead soul squats in a condemned tenement.
365. Honestly? You will never escape your predicament alive.
366. You are in a race against time–which you will lose.
367. Your childhood nickname was “Little Mo”.
368. You have a well-earned reputation for selfish treachery.
369. Nobody wants you around because you are a needy pest.
370. The drunken quack will botch your plastic surgery.
371. You are certainly a man they love to hate.
372. The cabdriver remembers the address of your hideout.
373. Opportunity will knock–Deadly Opportunity.
374. Nature culls the Stupes, so you’re shit out of luck.
375. You didn’t want to snitch but you had no choice.
376. They are watching for your face at all the Borders.
377. That small town Sheriff is anything but dumb.
378. Your Last Meal: Hobo Tomato Soup and despair.
379. In the county lockup you will give birth to a Yenshee Baby.
380. Your prison sentence will set a harsh new precedent.
381. Your best friend will engineer your downfall.
382. No one is willing to take a chance on you.
383. Strange doings at the Old Mill are linked to you.
384. You don’t look nice even when you’re all cleaned up.
385. They have stolen your identity and you are helpless.
386. Innocent? Perhaps. But guilty of many other things.
387. You are and always will remain a two-bit punk.
388. You hated your mother–no, but you loved her, too.
389. Murder Two? No dice. They know you are a Psycho.
390. You really stepped in dogshit this time, Little Pal.
391. Rivers of whiskey will never wash away your awful guilt.
392. The first impression you give off? Professional Crumb-Bum.
393. You’re so low-down you’d even cheat a starving Hobo.
394. The cops know all about your attic hideaway.
395. Stowaway on a Tramp Steamer? Punishment: Forty Lashes.
396. In the Jingle-Jangle Morning they’ll come slaughter you.
397. The Road to Hell is full of scum like you.
398. You were rich before you went nuts and started drinking.
399. The Sheriff knows the Alky you sell is pure poison.
400. Swinging a lit firecracker on a string you blinded your best friend.

28. HAPPYLAND: THANK GOD IT’S THURSDAY
In December of 2012 I spent a rather pleasant luncheon today with a former
high school classmate, whom I’ll call Sal Copeland.

We met up at TGI Friday’s in a town close to Swansea. The sky was brooding,
gray, and as tremulous as Frank Sinatra; the blackened clouds had all the promise
of being ominous without ever quite spilling over and erupting into disordered snowfall.

Incidentally, the turnover of businesses in part of Massachusetts is horrendous.
Fall River Avenue, especially the locality at the confluence of Route 6 and Route
114A, is stretch of road which seems particularly inimical to business
success. South of the TGIF, immediately behind it, is a defunct motel.
(Formerly a Best Western. Now, I suppose, a Dead Eastern.) Adjacent to
it, on its western flank, stands a now-shuttered restaurant which has
gone through a succession of franchisees, all of whom were indubitably
as dead as a mackerel once they alighted upon that accursed spot. Is
it bad juju? Or something more? (I should research the area and find
out what was in place there during the Colonial era. Was it the site
of an Indian massacre? Are the souls of dead aborigines inexorably
continuing to exact their karmic revenge?)

Sal chatted amiably about business, and sundry other matters, with our server. The waitress was
a slender, red-haired, freckled Irish lassie with merry dancing eyes
which may or may not have been as green as Erin’s auld Sod. (Don’t ask
me her name. Ask Sal. He’s the personable one. He’s Michael the
Archangel bearing tidings of Great Joy; I’m the creepy spider in the
corner who dispassionately observes all human interactions and
converts them into insalubrious narrative algorithms.)

Sal engaged in some light badinage with her about her ring–not her fiancees’;
rather, her aunt’s. (Good thing, too, said he; anyone who’d give such
a pretty girl such an impoverished ring deserved to be drowned in the
Atlantic Ocean like a mingy rat.) Herr Copeland and I talked of many
things. Let’s see–in no particular order we talked of the our former high school.
Sal confided that when he first arrived there he was somewhat shy:
I rejoindered that I was a notorious troublemaker during my time
there; also, that I was good in one-on-one chats but that otherwise I
was not really what you might call a people person. (Hence my lack of
career success.) Sal mentioned that rock was big when I attended
boarding school; disco was big when he was there. (Later, I said “No disco, no gay
marriage.” Probably the wittiest thing I said all afternoon.)

We talked of how, in the early 70s, the monks could get away with quite a
bit–leastways in terms of doctrinal asseverations, and throwing stuff
at our heads–but also in terms of telling us what to do–though
not so much by the latter part of that decade.

We spoke of a few of our mutual high school acquaintances; for
some reason, the talk turned to the nature of Jesus. Christ, I said,
was a great example to us all. Particularly Americans. He was the
ultimate Underdog. (Bruce Barton, the ad-man, in his bestselling book
Greatest Story Ever Told, turned the story of Jesus into a parable of
how to succeed in business. Which I found cheap and deplorable, while
conceding that he had a good point. The story of Jesus IS a very
interesting story, whether it happened or not.)

I also put my oar in—how could I resist?–about the falsity of
the (presumably Jesuitical) logic that He was either God or
Madman. Why couldn’t He have been a great thinker of the
first century? (Never mind the fact that his beliefs were radical and
extreme–even for their day.)

Sal and I then had a mild dispute, which never rose to the level
of an argument, regarding the allegedly insidious nature
of creeping secularism and anti-secularism. The whole
‘Happy Holidays’ issue. (Prayer in schools? Why not, said Anthony. I
demurred. We didn’t argue. I don’t feel all that strongly about the
issue either way. I simply mentioned that 20 per cent of the
population professes no religious belief.) Our talk turned to the Newtown massacre.
How could it not? Huckabee blames the gays, said Anthony. Don’t blame
the gays for this current mess, ala Huckabee, said I. Huckabee might
not even believe it himself, but is merely preaching to the
evangelicals, who are quite active in pushing the Republican Party so
far to the right that they’re ruining it. If you need to blame
anybody, said I, blame Madalyn Murray O’Hare, who took the issue of
school prayer all the way to the Supreme Court. Or blame the Second
World War and its aftermath, with its ensuing enormous societal
dislocations, its promulgation of a sex-and-violence nexus, its
equation of guns with virility, and the gibbering preachments of
sapheads who inevitably prescribe simplistic cure-alls to deal with
complex societal neuroses. (Yes, I grew somewhat heated. Incidentally,
the whole sex-and-violence argument is not original to me, but taken
from an 1940s monograph by the social critic Gershon Legman called
“Love and Death”. )

Indirectly, we also spoke of gnosticism, astrology, and
the nature of free will, as well as intolerance and the nature of
evil. Anthony mentioned that an acquaintance recently told him that we
should be very careful, because everything he said on Facebook was
being monitored by government agencies. Anthony dismissed this as a
fantasy. I asked him how old this person was. I already knew the
answer. He was my age. In his Mid-fifties. Meaning that he came of age
during Watergate. That paranoid mentality. I mentioned my college
friend Whitney, who, with deadly seriousness, told me to never
march in parades or sign petitions, and who also advised me to buy a
patch of land in the Maine woods and to construct a log cabin there in
case the world falls to shit. Sal and I agreed that the police
probably do look at Facebook; we also implicitly agreed that the
notion that everyone who posts on Facebook is a marked man is the
sheerest balderdash. All in all, we had quite an interesting
discussion.

As the afternoon was winding down, we spoke of progeny and
near relatives. I told him that the picture of his daughter which he
showed me indicated to me that his child had a shrewd, but kindly
and innocent face. We also spoke of ethnicity, and race, and social
class. The sense of offended dignity felt by first-generation Irish
and Italians and Jews during less enlightened times. I mentioned how
the Blacks must have been truly aggrieved by their perception of a
double whammy. (This was implied, not spoken of at any great length.
Though I did mention the concept of White Privilege. And how the
country is still divided into people who believe that Whites are
actually superior and those who believe that whites simply enjoy
superior advantages.)

We spoke of how help wanted ads were divided into male and
female right up until the early 1970s. We chatted about
the nature of people born into wealth; of old money; of the habits and
mores of the top-out-of-sight wealthy, to use an expression favored by
Paul Fussell. I mentioned Pierre Bourdieu, and his theories of social,
educational, and financial class. We also spoke of the art of writing.

In my mind, in spite of my own inevitable tergiversations, it was as
fine a discussion as any which might have been found in any highbrow
salon in Paris circa 1850.

I suppose the most intriguing thing we discussed was a theme
which was touched upon in a story that Sal had written: namely,
the possibility that all those weird government “programs”
which one used to read about in The National Enquirer, in
which hundreds of thousands of dollars are supposedly spent to study
the mating habits of, say, the hammerhead shark may, in fact, be cover
stories for more unsavory activities.

Sal left me with several pieces of good advice in regard to networking.
I should mention in closing that, while Mr. Copeland’s burger was
done to his liking, in my own chicken and pasta dish I found a piece
of twisted plastic, which I brought to the attention of the waitress.
I was as kind about it as I could possibly be. Told her I had
worked in a kitchen (as indeed I had) and that I could readily
understand how such mistakes can happen, etc. When it came
time to pay, my portion of the meal was therefore
deemed gratis. (Incidentally, I was not so appalled by the presence of
a foreign body in my lunch that I neglected to take home a doggie
bag.) Sal tipped well. (I’m sorry; I notice these things.) I’d
have to say in all honesty that it was an afternoon extremely well
spent. I highly recommend having lunch with Mr. Copeland. (But with a
caveat: Steer clear of the Chicken Florentine Piccata Pasta at the
TGIF near Swansea.)

29. EAST COAST SCENE REPORT
*Thee Quick-Acting Hypnotics may be signed to the Akashik records label.

*The band Milk Of Amnesia was mentioned on Kitchen Nightmares.

*S.E. Hinton was seen in the audience at a recent concert headlined by Gonna Do It For Johnny.

*Acid Is Groovy Kill The Pigs will be mentioned in a new book to be published by Feral House in October.

*Laugh It Up Furball came in second in West Warwick’s annual “Rock Unt” competition.

*Rumor has it that a song by Gorilla Crime Boss will be heard on the soundtrack of the next Batman movie.

*The Scum Bozoes have reunited after a six-month hiatus.

*Circuit Of A Dogma will entertain the troops at an unspecified location overseas.

*Syndrome of a Down will be mentioned in a forthcoming issue of Spin Magazine.

*The Drizzlin’ Shits have a new demo recorded on–get this!–an old-fashioned cassette tape!

*The Beatnik Jet Pilots are to star in a video to be aired on cable access television.

*The Stompbox Wankers are relocating to Vegas.

*The Minor 6145 Choir can be heard every Sunday at the Ranch House in Marshfield.

*Three members of The Blowjob Alibis are decorated Marines.

*Me Love You Long Time will be playing at the opening of the new Johnny’s Foodmaster in Malden.

*Kenny Chambers has named Smash Ugly “a band to watch”.

*Inspector Pigg recently performed on the roof of Hi-Fi Pizza, until the police closed the show down.

*At a recent performance, The Sphincter Monkeys caused a ruckus by throwing firecrackers into the crowd.

*The Pork Messengers have been denied a visa to Saudi Arabia.

*The Vagina Puppets have been condemned by the Archdiocese of Boston.

*After 19 years, The Fat Little Nothings are breaking up.

*The music of the Spit-Backs now appears in a public service ad for stroke victims.

*Apex Predator from Wakey Wakey Eggs and Cakey claims that the “Scene out West” is “better by far than anything you got going on here”. He suggests that we “check it out, maan.”

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