AND NOW…MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS:
1. YOUR SECRET IS YOUR WEAKNESS
2. ASS PRESIDENT
3. A REPUBLIC OF LIES
4. COWBOY FUEL
5. COACH CRUMP
7. THINGS THAT NEVER WERE
8. THE WHITE STORY
9. SCAT THE CAT
10. SECOND-HAND DAYLIGHT
11. WRITING BY SCALES
12. THE RIDICULOUSLY BAD DRAMA
13. SUPER MASTER
14. PLOT DISRUPTIONS
16. SARGE THE WONDER DOG
17. BOB ACRES
18. ABRAHAM WORK
19. THE FOUR MESSIAHS
20. RAILROAD TOWN
21. NOIR MISFORTUNE COOKIES: SEVENTH SERIES
601. You are aptly modest about your past, which is best forgotten.
602. Everyone’s got a story, Pal–but yours is done.
603. Tomorrow is another day–of mindless terror.
604. Your excuses are not only half-baked but completely baked.
605. They very much care whether you live or, preferably, die.
606. Your punishment will be cruel but by no means unusual.
607. There will be a technicality, but you still won’t get off.
608. Nothing personal? Forget it. All of it is personal.
609. They will laugh at your “conspiracy,” for They created it.
610. You will find the Southerners friendly; even their Lynch Mobs.
611. You were born to be King–King of Nowhere.
612. The drugs are becoming more than a simple hobby.
613. They call the man you borrowed money from “The Butcher”.
614. Your ears are burning–because your head’s on fire.
615. Your beloved college professor is a CIA recruiter.
616. In thirty thousand days, not one moment of justice.
617. That man who calls you “brother” just murdered his.
618. You are a senior citizen of the Land of Broken Promises.
619. You will drown in the deep waters of your wounded pride.
620. For you a good beginning is only half the bottle.
621. Laughter is not the best medicine, but Slaughter.
622. You will be forced to make a virtue of Nasty.
623. Rats like you DESERVE a sinking ship.
624. Everybody else always ruins it for a few assholes–like you.
625. The world will always say Yes–to your punishment.
626. Your life is the fruit of your own undoing.
627. Those who have ever done you dirt will escape all punishment.
628. You’re too outspoken about The Problem–now you’re The Problem.
629. Everywhere you go will be the prison you left behind.
630. You are prey to the delusion that you are not deluded.
631. You will ride your grand illusions to their gruesome finale.
632. Pray they will be merciful, and murder you in your sleep.
633. Every little breeze seems to whisper “revenge”.
634. Monkey, you thought t’was all in fun–“pop” goes the Uzi.
635. You will never be avenged against your enemies.
636. Not one of your “old friends” will agree to hide you.
637. Your repentance is judged insincere–there will be no Pardon.
638. Man is Wolf to Man–and you’re a sickly little Mouse.
639. You have disgraced your people, so they will banish you.
640. Your slain kinfolk will cry in vain for justice.
641. You’ll accidentally shoot that kid who was on your lawn.
642. Your false accusers are forever secure in their evil slanders.
643. Those you have made wealthy shall abandon you and laugh.
644. You’ll be the #1 Fall Guy in the City Hall Scandal.
645. You’ll very soon be in love with easeful death.
646. Once powerful, you’ll be dispossessed and made wretched.
647. You will become the silenced victim of ambitious intrigues.
648. Once you were the Boss’s favorite–now your name is Mud.
649. You’ll never again raise your crippled hand against–The Master.
650. You are in thrall to Error and shall never understand.
651. From your depraved lips even the word “love” sounds vile.
652. Even your fabled eloquence shall prove woefully inadequate.
653. All dames are bad news, Mister–but yours takes the cake.
654. Your relatives will haggle over Grandmother’s possessions.
655. Fear of hereditary insanity shall drive you mad.
656. You will sacrifice your life for an indifferent State.
657. New riches bring evil; jealous friends now hate you.
658. God Bless your Day; your Nights belong to The Devil.
659. Your loving wife will throw you over for a two-bit Gigolo.
660. Your pampered mistress? On the side, she’s turning Tricks.
661. Hellion–the neighbors feel very sorry for your Mother.
662. Your budget tax preparer has made a massive error.
663. Your check will bounce, and soon The Boys will see if you can.
664. You’ll never explain those motel receipts to your bitter wife.
665. Your new “business partners” will make impossible demands.
666. They wonder what the Devil’s got into you–literally.
667. Your oldest son will inherit only your murderous rages.
668. Your false values will lead to your inevitable ruin.
669. You will sell your Grandma’s dentures just to buy a fix.
670. Surprise! Your new Romance is actually…a Bromance.
671. Your first grandchild is the spitting image of Mussolini.
672. Even your imaginary friend has turned against you.
673. You have nightmares of never being able to sleep again.
674. Your oldest friend has mysteriously died…and you’re next.
675. Your rival has lavishly bribed the entire police force.
676. She says “A ring, or else”–so you wring her neck.
677. You will look into a mirror and see the face of Jesus.
678. Your young wife’s handsome “visiting cousin” is no kin to her.
679. You’re a dead ringer for police sketches of the serial killer.
680. Your devout wife will find your treasure trove of ladies’ undies.
681. Your most characteristic trait is the one they despise the most.
682. You’ll discover Hell is not “other people”–Hell is You.
683. The next song you hear will be a Murder Rap.
684. You gave your brother a kidney–now he won’t return your calls.
685. You will be told you have a purty mouth.
686. You will never even make it in the Small City.
687. The Feds will discover your self-incriminating secret journal.
688. The Chief Detective will catch you in a big fat lie.
689. Your squeaking, squawking inside voices will never stop.
690. You think you’re giving them the runaround; they’re playing you.
691. Police notice your calm demeanor at your wife’s funeral.
692. You’ll lose 100 pounds–on a bread and water diet.
693. The Warden has decided you’re an incorrigible troublemaker.
694. Grandma will leave her vast fortune to her 28 cats.
695. Your neighbor spies upon you for the police.
696. That janitor job is suddenly looking very attractive.
697. The Police have a warrant to search your basement.
698. The Attorney General will investigate your bogus charity.
699. The neighbor’s wind chimes sound like they’re saying “murderer”.
700. The Secret Service seriously believes your crazy drunken threats.
22. THIS JUST IN:
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READ WITH CONFIDENCE as you are dealing with a Born again, Bible believing, Blood bought child of the Living God through faith in Jesus Christ and a committed follower our Lord and Savior. I treat readers as I’d like to be treated. I write good too! God Bless!
MY GOOD FRIEND MR WALLENDA says: Thank you, long-deceased hallucinating desert nomad, for your imaginary assistance in crossing the Grand Canyon on a wire.
IN MY STATE, ON SUNDAYS, when the bars are closed, you’ll find me browsing the aisle of my local drug store. Listen: I will say this much about the generic drugstore brand: It’s a GOOD rubbing alcohol…it’s not a GREAT rubbing alcohol.
DEAR REPUBLICAN PARTY: Joe McCarthy was drunk most of the time. What’s your excuse?
IN THE FUTURE…the unregulated free market will regulate our freedom. (I’m sorry—did I say “In the future”?)
The best thing you can say about Maya Angelou’s poetry is that it sometimes struggles to rise, in vain, to the level of barely adequate prose. Like some saurian upstart slithering from the primordial ooze, she occasionally lumbers into the dawning of a coherent thought, only to sink back into her inevitable quotidian torpor.
Billy Collins: the poet for people who think that reading poetry–any poetry– makes them more intellectually advanced. In this, he takes over the slot previously held by Rod McKuen.
Mary Oliver’s fans are the kind of women who like to read her verses on posters with pictures of peaceful animals on them. They only guys who read Mary Oliver’s effusions are those who wish to impress chicks who read Mary Oliver.
They say that Jim Morrison died in the bathtub. That was probably the first bath that man ever took. It wasn’t the drugs, it was the shock of cleanliness that did him in.
No matter what he does in the future, I will always fondly remember Spike Lee as ‘Mr. Race Riot Man.’
24. MODERN WISDOM
“WILD HORSES” begs the question of whether Tame Horses, working in disciplined concert, could have dragged Mick Jagger away.
I’VE TRAVELED THIS GREAT LAND OVER. Top to bottom. East to west. North to south. And this is what I’ve learned. Take heed, youngster. (You might want to write this down.) I’ve learned…that most winos can’t play the harmonica. At all.
TOP TEN DATES I NEVER WANT TO RELIVE
10. She has just met you and she is already talking at length about her unpublished novel.
9. She talks about how her ex-husband was a slob–as she looks you up and down in search of sartorial deficiencies.
8. The moment you meet her she says she would like a large family.
7. She talks incessantly about her father, who, incidentally, is a truly great man.
6. First date small talk reveals she owns seven tomcats–each named after a Greek Goddess.
5. You arrive at her invitation at a restaurant of her choosing and she begins complaining about the service before the waiter even arrives.
4. She looks like John Adams, our second President.
3. She forgot to mention her psychotic ex-boyfriend–“Bruno.” Who is lurking nearby. And growling.
2. If you close your eyes you would swear you are talking to Fran Drescher.
1. From the moment she meets you, she looks exceedingly distracted. After five minutes she excuses herself to go to the Ladies’ Room, and never returns.
LADIES: Always beware of the date who orders “A water…for both of us.” Then explains the restaurant’s 300 per cent mark-up policy on drinks and says “That’s where they get ya.” This same guy will also consider buying you a five cent gumball as “treating you to dessert”.
ZOMBIES USED TO BE A METAPHOR FOR Communism. Mindless and servile and voracious. Whereas the movie Alien was a metaphor for capitalism. Mindless and vicious and voracious. Why do grown adults continue to dignify such conceptual toys with their diligent attention? Time to move on, methinks, and confront the real monsters which haunt our lives. Feral children; hungry people; folks who have lost all hope. But that is too hard; we turn away and splash in a birdbath in idiotic spectacles. Put another way, perhaps, a zombie is simply anybody who doesn’t think for themselves. But nobody really and truly thinks for themselves, for we are only the sum total of the input we receive from being a part of an interstitial web of culture which we call our Civilization. Perhaps the prevalence of the zombie is a sign that, on some level, we live in a hyper-commercialized culture in which we recognize Madison Avenue for what it truly is: a machine for selling you something which promises to give you everything while at the same time it takes everything away. Commercials manipulate us into regarding inconsequentialities as consequential. They steal our souls and sell them back to us. Liberals and conservatives can both agree that the zombie drumbeat of the commodification of every life experience is ongoing and relentless.
IN THE MEANTIME…
Check out my award-winning series of American Zombie paperbacks:
THE IRAN-ZOMBIE SCANDAL
FORTY ZOMBIES AND A MULE
GEORGE WASHINGTON ZOMBIE, FATHER OF OUR UNDEAD COUNTRY!
25. AMAZON REVIEWS
THE OLD TESTAMENT
Nope did not like this one. Nope nope nope. Too wordy. Too wordy. The author–who they never name–should be called Wordy McWord Word Word. Too many thees and thous. Too much smiting. Not enough character development. Took too long to get to the point, said the same things over and over again (more words). Things that happen in one chapter have nothing to do with what happened before. We never know who’s telling the story. At least in Russian novels you get some pretty far-out anarchist dudes. The OT: Nada. Just a bunch of tribal daddies living in flea-bitten tents trying to sex up their daughters or impregnate their toothless hag wives. This one was so bad I did not even bother finishing it. Would not recommend. One Star.
26. AN AMERICAN TUNE
Henry Orobos, the boy genius who founded his own company in 1985 at the age of 14, started college that same year, and was awarded a PhD at the tender age of 21—Henry Orobas has not aged well. I’m sorry to say it. I liked Henry. Henry was a friend of mine. A very smart fellow. But removed from ordinary human concerns. He had a bit of a drug problem in the late 1980s.
And, as a result, Henry has gotten…a little weird. He’s 43 now. He has money–lots of money…and very few people who understand him–or who want to.
If you were a big-city pigeon nesting in the cornice of Anytown’s highest building you could see Henry now, in his penthouse bachelor pad, replete with busts of Plato and Socrates that adorn his outdoor garden, which is also brightened year-round by the presence of rare greenhouse Orchids and award-winning Roses.
There he is, flouncing around, nearly as naked as the day he was born–or hatched–wearing only snow-white tasseled slippers and a skimpy purple tutu, and giggling lasciviously as he flaunts to unseen auditors–are they imaginary?–his fancy-Dan prep school vocabulary–words like “rotisserie,” and “anticlastic”.
Meanwhile, an assemblage of grimy and unshaven roughnecks from a nearby overarching construction site are staring down at him, gumming unlit stogies, and guffawing at his antics with mingled bemusement and disgust. “Thought I seen it all,” croaks Rocco, the superannuated assistant site foreman, in a phlegmy voice–incidentally, he looks for all the world like a dyspeptic Harry Truman.
As Henry bends over to snip a delicate Petunia, the site foreman, Bill “Brute” Brutowski, who resembles General Eisenhower after a three-day bender, picks up his tongs, and with a diastolic snort and a systolic chuckle, bandies about a white-hot rivet, and, with unerring aim, hurls it directly at Henry’s derriere and bellows, “Haw! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
27. NEVER TRUST A MAN NAMED SHANGHAI JACK.
Sure, stranger–the parrot WILL say pieces of eight! Why? Ho! Matey–ye wouldn’t be after the secret of me treasure map, now, would ye? Well, ye’ll never get that secret out of me, and the bird canna betray me–for he knows nowt on’t! Ahrr…but lay me in a scupper for a swab if my bird didn’t drive us ALL barmy with his cries, sayin’ pieces of eight–over and over–as well he might—aye–for it was a fine treasure chest we saw…brimmin’ over with doubloons–Flint’s gold, or so they call it–if only I had me the coin to rig me a fine ship and three Huskies to man ‘er, I might yet dig up that half-buried plunder–ye wouldn’t happen to be a man of means, now, would
ye, Squire? No? Well, never mind–Have a drink–on me! Ho! Diabolo! Bring two Rum Toddies–a regular one for me–and a special one for me new swabbie!
28. STUPID CARTOON CAPTION
Frog: “Waiter…there aren’t enough flies in my soup.”
29. HAPPYLAND: HI FI PIZZALAND
“None of us is so pure as to be wholly good or wholly
evil, and the gray between the two, which is where we dwell, is vast
and unmappable.”—Nick Tosches, KING OF THE JEWS, 251-2.
For fifteen years, from the age of 22 to the age of 37, I lived right
over a fine fast-food Establishment in the Central Square neighborhood
of Cambridge, Massachusetts yclept Hi-Fi Pizza, and I can assure you
that before the famed nightclub venue known as The Middle East Café
even existed, the corner of Brookline Street and Massachusetts Avenue
was a veritable weirdo magnet for every lowlife within a eight mile
And the apartment was an uninhabitable hellhole. But I’m getting ahead
Anyway, let’s look on the bright side. Or, at least, let us
temporarily peer through the clotted mists of memory to find the humor
in the situation. Out of college, in debt, with no marketable skills
other than a knowledge of the difference between metonymy and
synecdoche (long since forgotten), in August of 1979 I had no real
choice other than to either relocate to Providence Rhode Island or
live in a room which rented for the grand total of fifty-six dollars
and twenty-five cents a month (about $116 in 1994 dollars), and,
which, with the demise of rent control some fifteen years later,
eventually rented for the princely sum of $300.
When I first moved in, my roommates were old high school and college
chums, and we had a merry old time of it for a few years, at least
until they all grew up and got real jobs instead of sitting around in
their shorts and undershirts drinking Ballantine Ale from 40 ounce
bottles, listening to obnoxiously eccentric music and playing
backgammon until the hours wee.
By November of 1994, I had to be the responsible one. Because one of
my roommates was a crackhead who invited his pals up to the apartment
at all hours and who, strange to say, had the peculiar habit of
spending the rent money on crack. Another roommate was a deadbeat who,
admittedly, had an excruciatingly menial dead-end job at a mental
hospital. The third roommate was a solvent but obsessive-compulsive
schizophrenic (and I mean that in the nicest possible way), whose job
it was—I kid you not—to haul radioactive cat fetuses to containment
sites hard by the Harvard Medical School.
It was a wearisome burden indeed to shake down that jolly crew for the
coin of the realm, and just before my 38th birthday I relocated to
Providence, where I have lived ever since. (I can’t resist mentioning
that after I left, the place was used as a squatter’s pad and was
occupied by an underemployed street magician and an otherwise
unemployed street puppeteer. The pal who hauled the cat fetuses had
moved out, but had neglected to uninstall the telephone and was
eventually socked with a three thousand dollar phone bill by some
ingenious soul who contrived a way to call porn sites—but that’s
Three of the funniest things I witnessed back when I lived there:
1) A black guy in a loud argument with one of the cooks:
Black guy: “FUCK YOU! Cadillac is the best card MADE! It’s the best car MADE!”
Cook: “You’re talkin’ stupid nonsense! You’re talkin’ stupid nonsense!”
Black guy: “Yo pizza is like yo FACE!”
2) Two guys about to gang up on a cabdriver. The old guy, probably a
war vet, takes off his belt and wraps it around his knuckles and the
two back away.
3) Then there was the time George D. almost got caught throwing
firecrackers off the roof onto Brookline Street one fourth of July
I neglected to mention that in the early 1980s there was a dance
establishment directly across the street known as The Rise Club which
diligently, at 4AM every Sunday morning, let out a stream of
intoxicated and belligerent ghetto youth who spilled out into the
street and frequently fought pitched battles for which I, of course,
being young and myself awake at that ungodly hour, had a ringside
Do I miss living there? No. Even if you could get to sleep amid all
the traffic noise from 5 AM to 2AM, the Burger King next door wafted
poisonous smoke into our kitchen window which permeated the apartment
from 6AM to 1AM.
Do I ever eat there? God no. I neglected to mention that the whole
building was riddled with rats and roaches. I can’t imagine they have
been systematically eradicated in the eleven years since I lived
there; it would probably take eleven centuries.
I DON’T MIND LETTING A RANDOM ACCIDENTAL FACT FLY every now and then but, if it happens when I’m passing a young intelligent scholar I get embarrassed. It is kind of silly. In the back of my mind I think I’m still a witty, erudite and esoteric man. Little do I know the only reason she smiled was out of pity and, in the back of her mind, she was saying, “Κύριε, ἐλέησον! Look at that useless washed-up pedant!”
30. THE MODERN WISDOM ALMANAC. ARCHIVE: