#728 APRIL 19, 2013
Copyright 2013 FRANCIS DIMENNO
Fill your heart with love today,/Don’t play the game of time;/Things that happened in the past/ Only happened in your mind…—Biff Rose
Look back, and smile on perils past.–Walter Scott
It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.–Bernard Meltzer
Here we come, we’re coming fast/All the others are in the past/Jump to your feet, let us catch your eye/We’re the Green Fuz—Randy Alvey
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER SIX: PART SEVEN: BIG TROUBLE
Baby Boy Maddox concluded his strange tale of the Stolas clan with a pointed question: How did Cadger Tandy come to know so much about Colonel Stolas?
“Well he might! The Colonel hated hoboes and tramps with a passion. ‘If they don’t want to work,’ said he, “let ‘em go to the poor farm.” Often times, back in the early 1950s, you’d hear him holding forth at Feist’s cigar store, ranting about ‘the hobo menace,’ and ominously saying as how “in other towns which are much better organized the graveyards are full of strange deadbeats.”
One time Tandy even managed to overhear Colonel Stolas deliver a strange rant at the Town Meeting–which he memorized as best he could—he had an ear for language—which he related to Baby Boy Maddox, practically verbatim.
“I don’t see why we continue to support these loafers. Hoboes are a menace. They stink. Literally. They are all a pack of greasy, bean-gobbling, bacon-eating layabouts. They steal pies from windowsills, beg for old rags at back doors, and kidnap children to make them into sturdy beggars. The revenues that the railroads lose from these freeloaders would save them from their operating deficits, and many times over. I recently actually saw a hobo–who was teaching his dog to beg! IT’S A FRANCHISE!”
“Fact is, these filthy toothless beggars roam our city streets, frightening horses and old maids with their gaunt forms and croaking voices as they beg for bread money they have every intention of spending instead on bay rum and sterno. Their filthy shantytowns smell like cheap rotgut; they’re forever sniping mostly-smoked cigars from the gutter; and they dress in suits that were last in fashion back in my grandfather’s day Maybe some ‘hepcat’ characters find that sort of behavior attractive; I, for one, do not. Do you know what I say?
THE HOBO MUST GO!
Because, friends, let’s face it. What does it say about our fair community when visitors are treated to the sight of a loathsome bindle-stiff scuffling for his dinner with arthritic claws from a trash-heap teeming with vermin? Do we want to improve Noxtown? The solution is simple: NO MORE HOBOES!
And another thing–whenever you talk to one of these down-and-outers, they’re always rasping in their froggy and thousand-mile voices about the perils of ‘cinder dicks’ and ‘railroad bulls’. I say this: Maybe if you cleaned yourself up and got a job mucking sewers or whatever it is you ragamuffins do to earn your pelf, then maybe the good John Law wouldn’t feel constrained to clap the darbies on your infamous kind for breaking into boxcars and stealing potatoes or whatever it is you chaw between your rotting choppers. No, I’m afraid the era of soft-heartedness is long gone, my footloose friend. So let the word go out both far and wide: HOBO, YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE!
But…what is to be done? Maybe we might consider adopting the sensible remedies resorted to by the Germans and the Russians. Those boys didn’t fool around when it came to dealing with these rag-picking, flea-harboring, tubucular urban parasites. They relocated them. We should do the very same. And post-haste. And then Noxtown would once again bloom with flowers whose perfume will for once be unsullied by the stale beer reek of these itinerant nomads.
My friends, let us not be deluded by the soft-hearted but mush-minded talk of the goo-goos and sky pilots who moan about Christian charity. Christ was all to the well and good, but let’s be REALISTIC. These Hobo malcontents would crush us if they could, so perhaps it would be best for all concerned were they to simply…vanish.
I see, stretching before me, like an illimitable horizon, a world that is all but Hobo-free.
Women would fearlessly ride my street-cars without the horrendous likelihood of some drunken freight-hopper stinking up the atmosphere with his creosote stench.
Small boys could fish and skinny-dip down by my granite quarry without encountering some ‘Weary Willie’-type character filling their heads with airy nonsense dreams of travel and adventure.
Merchants could proudly display their wares without some shuffling malcontent lingering in the back of the fruit-stand and free-loading rotten and bruised comestibles.
Restaurants could operate with every expectation that their ketchup and sugar packets would remain unmolested by freebooting bands of roving jungle buzzards.
Clancy, the good old cop on the beat, might be able to catch a little shut-eye instead of having to roust sleepy-eyed moochers from their offal-ridden roosts. Park benches, abandoned buildings, and highway underpasses would finally be free of the “tramp” menace.
No red-nosed, pink-eyed, Rum Dum malcontents would congregate in our fair parks and wooded areas, befouling the air with the rancid aromas of their “mulligan” stews.
In short, Noxtown would be even more of a veritable paradise–if only we could induce the hobo to clear out.
But what are we going to do about it?
Now, certain weak-minded sob-sisters and muddle-headed solons have argued, quite implausibly, that hoboes were victimized by the great financial downturns of decades past.
Now, I’m no ivory-tower economist, my head so full of soaring abstractions that I ain’t even got the sense to pound sand in a rat-hole, but here’s what I figger.
No less an eminento than the beloved Calvin Coolidge had something like this to say:
“Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only TRACK EVERY FILTHY HOBO TO THEIR LAIR AND DESTROY THEM ALL.”
I am not a partisan in this matter, but, when faced with such stunning common sense, I have no recourse but to wholeheartedly agree.
DESTROY ALL HOBOES. DESTROY THEM NOW.
BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.
Do not mistake my intentions.
I am not a heartless man.
There was even a time, a time in the not-too-distant past, when I might give a starving man a crust of bread before administering a well-deserved kick and sending him out into the snow.
But no more.
Truly, in the case of the hobo, IT IS CRUEL TO BE KIND.
Where these men truly belong is not the poor-house, but the Penitentiary, where they can ruminate to their heart’s content over their misbegotten ways, in-between stints of basket-weaving, ditch-digging, and making little ones out of big ones.
Was it not the great Captain John Smith who sagely observed that “They who do not work shall not eat”?
How far we have strayed from the admonitory precepts of that wise old statesman!
And to what cost?
WE ARE OVERRUN WITH HOBOES!
To maintain otherwise is socialism, plain and simple, and I say “To hell with it.”
(Pardon my language, but there stand I, and I can do no other.)
FROM NOW ON, LET THIS BE OUR TOWN MOTTO:
DEATH TO HOBOES!
All good people agree with me.
Even the good hoboes agree, because even they, in their sterno-and-rotgut-addled way, know that a town with no hoboes is a grand thing.
And so I say to you–mistake me not–if we shall deal softly with the Hobo in our midst, then verily, we shall be made a magnet for every starving vagabond within a thousand miles.
We shall open the toothless maws of itinerant and peripatetic madmen and nomads to speak of our city beautiful as merely a soft haven for erysipelatous scroungers, and they shall swarm our borders ’til they consume the good land we nourished with our very life’s blood.
In sum, I ask the town to rally ’round my standard.
Are you with me?
Or are you a filthy tramp-lover?
If the latter, then stay far, far away.
If the former, then heed my call:
DESTROY THE HOBO FREAKS! LEAVE NOT ONE STICK OF THEIR PATHETIC HOVELS STANDING!
AND WE WILL BUILD A NEW JERUSALEM!
AND WE WILL SEE THE VERY FACE OF GOD!!!!!”
It was with particular relish that Tandy related to Baby Boy Maddox, and Maddox was soon to repeat to me, the origin tale of the Colonel’s hatred of hoboes.
It all began, of course, with Tandy and his dealings with Cokey Stolas, a tale we shall resume.
FILL YOUR HEART
RANDY ALVEY & THE GREEN FUZ
AARP: 21 NOVELS YOU NEED TO READ
Everybody’s middlebrow favorites.
HARVEY AND THEIR BIZARRE HIPPIE-ERA COMICS
One pill makes you smaller, and one pill makes you larger,
But the ones that Mother gives you make you paint like Henry Darger…—P. Whittle
One pill makes you nutso, and one pill makes you sane,
But the ones that Mother gives you make you paint like Louis Wain…
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
THE SLOW DEATH OF THE AMERICAN AUTHOR
6* DAILY UTILITY
Turns out I have a rather iffy track record when it comes to predicting trends. I did, however, in May of 2008, precisely nail the coming glee club craze.
HARVEY COMICS AND THEIR INSANELY INEPT THRILLERS
CHRISTIAN PIPE SMOKER’S FORUM: “MANLY” POETRY
BLOATED CHARITY CEO SALARIES DEBUNKED
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
Thrill Jockey Records
Any release from Thalia Zedek is bound to be of note. Her local pedigree stretches back to the late 1970s into the mid-1980s (White Women, Dangerous Birds, Uzi). She is probably most noted for fronting Live Skull and founding the groundbreaking local act Come, with Chris Brokaw from Codeine. Since 2001 she has promoted various solo releases, of which Via, though in certain respects a low-key effort, is among her most notable. This latest release opens with “Walk Away,” a surprisingly sweet and heartfelt elegiac number which is reminiscent of ’70s country rock, but with a punk sensibility which more properly belongs to Patti Smith and those who followed in her (not inconsiderable) wake. In fact, the slow burn of songs like “Winning Hand” and “In This World” are reminiscent of a song like Smith’s own epic statement “Seven Ways of Going.” Zedek’s song “Get Away” seems to hearken back to the dazed, nearly hallucinogenic intensity of her work for Uzi. Most notable is the final track, “Want You to Know,” an intense number which erupts into a savage raga reminiscent of the rampaging intensity of Live Skull. All nine of these songs are significant, making this is an essential release from an artist who has always had something to say, but who, with experience, has become more self-assured and more focused in her undeniable intensity than ever before.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 682.
HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE
Apparently, about every decade or so we need a new book about the Mississippi Flood of 1927. Turns out the latest book to come out will be a heavily-hyped fictional work. So–look for a Mississippi Flood of 1927 boom.
Or maybe not.
HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE
ALSO SEE: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4860785