THE INFORMATION #774 MARCH 7, 2014

THE INFORMATION
#774 MARCH 7, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
O sages standing in God’s holy fire As in the gold mosaic of a wall, Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, And be the singing-masters of my soul. –Yeats
 
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART THIRTY-THREE: THE FALL
Folks like the Reverend John Otis Cross would say that Doc Ketman was a Witchy Man and worse: a blasphemer, a defiler, and a minor-league sorcerer in league with the devil. But I found him instead to be nearly the opposite: he was profoundly superstitious, but it was in a Christian way–he was always crossing himself, and confined himself to root work–he never casts spells or curses on his enemies or those of other people unless he was supremely provoked, or in self-defense. I know that because one day I asked him a question which set his hackles up.
“What do you think about Cokey Stolas,” I says to Doc Ketman. “What about the Big Man?” And he gets all quiet and serious. Then he starts shooshing me as though he’s trying to blow out a fire that was already crawling halfway up his arm and was about to set his shoulder ablaze. 

“Don’t you mess none with The Big Man. he’s the man who has no soul.” And he crossed himself, feverishly and said “It wasn’t me, I swear by the tree.” And then he incanted:  “Dullix, ix, ux. Yea, you can’t come over Pontio; Pontio is above Pilato.” And he turned to me and began to give me a scolding. “Do ye nae ken, Yob, to ne’er use that name?” So compelling was his fear of Stolas that he taught me “an important spell,” even though he swore he’d never instruct me in his necromancy: “Christ’s cross and Christ’s crown, Christ Jesus’ colored blood, be thou every hour good. God, the Father, is before me; God, the Son, is beside me; God, the Holy Ghost, is behind me. Whoever now is stronger than these three persons may come, by day or night, to attack me.” And he made me repeat it several times, to ensure that I had gotten it by heart.

“Let me tell you about The Big Man,” says he. And old Doc Ketman sat on his wooden horse-drawn wagon and went into a trance, like. “Ye dig down deep into that rascal’s soul and you’ll learn soon enough that it is a great empty pit, such as the bottomless abyss of which the fifteenth century poet speaks, and the immortal Milton. He runs the Citywide Improvement Association–that’s a laugh. The only improvements they ever made is to their own pockets. I can’t even tell ye of half the things he’s up and about in. He has spies everywhere. For all I know, you’re in league with him. But I think not, since ye be Red Mary’s boy, and Red Mary ain’t got no use for him. She’s a Red, you know. A Wobbly. If Stolas caught wind of that ken, he’d be agin her even worse than he is already.” And he crossed himself again and hissed, “Three false tongues have pound thee, three holy tongues have spoken for thee. Old Stolas–Dullix, ix, ux.”

He intoned, “The first is God, the Father, the second is God the Son, and the third is God the Holy Ghost.” 
I shivered.
“He has a way of looking straight into your eyes, he does, and once you do, ye be caught up in his net and he can make you do his bidding without so much as a whisper.” Ketman mumbled, “They will give you blood and flesh, peace and comfort. Flesh and blood are grown upon thee, born on thee, and lost on thee.”
A violent chill ran up and down both my arms and through my jaw as I recalled how one time Stolas had stared at me while I was in the Seven Stars Saloon. 
“If you enter his lair, he will drug you and tamper with your mind and make you do his bidding in that way. It is said he controls two thirds of the pharmacies in Noxtown, and sells supplies to the other third.” Ketman muttered, “If any trample on thee with his horse, God will bless thee, and the holy Ciprian; has any woman trampled on thee, God and the body of Mary shall bless thee; if an servant has given you trouble, I bless thee through God and the laws of heaven; if any servant-maid or woman has led you astray, God and the heavenly constellations shall bless thee.”
And he crossed himself. And I shivered again. 
 
So much for my notion of getting back at Smash Conklin using knock-out drops. Stolas was the likely supplier of all the chloral in town. Conklin was probably already under his influence. 
“They say that the Big Man has powerful tattoos on his own body that protect him from charms and also give him strange powers.” He murmured. “Heaven is above thee, the earth is beneath thee, and thou art between.”  And Ketman crossed himself furiously.“Ye don’t want to cross him. Hardly a sparrow falls down dead in this town that he don’t know about. Don’t you know he’s behind the Death Show at the Roxy, with real corpses–and the Murder Train–where the prosties get on and never see their mammies no more?” He made the sign of the cross over me three times. “I bless thee against all tramplings by horses.” “I seen the tattoos. I seen ’em. He has a flaming dragon, a bearded pharaoh, and a pair of circling sharks. He has a monkey’s paw clutching a jewel, a tiger with bloody paws, and three lengths of chain, and on every link there’s uh Jesus’ name. He’s got Christ tattooed on one shoulder, and Moloch on t’other.” Ketman whispered. “Our dear Lord Jesus Christ walked about in his bitter afflictions and death; and all the Jews that had spoken and promised, trembled in their falsehoods and mockery.” “They say that if you cross him or even look at him the wrong way, he’s got spells and charms that can make you act crazy.” Ketman then said, in a dry and dusty croaking voice, “Look, now trembleth the Son of God, as if he had the itch, said the Jews. And then spake Jesus: have not the itch and no one shall have it. Whoever will assist me to carry the cross him will I free from the itch.” He looked at me in terror and then he made the sign of the cross over me three more times. “In the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”
And he hoarsely whispered. “Amen.” And then he turned away, having done all he could to protect me, but leaving me with the feeling that Stolas, too, had powerful magics, and that Ketman’s efforts were probably not enough to save me.

1*SALUTATION

SONS OF SAPPHO

YOUR HOUSE
 
 
2*REFERENCE
1920S MUG SHOTS
 
3*HUMOR
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE MOVIE POSTERS 
 
4*NOVELTY
THEREMIN
INTERACTIVE TOUCH AUDIO SYNTHSIZER FOR COMPUTER MOUSE 
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
Advice for Playwrights
 
6* DAILY UTILITY
THE 36 DRAMATIC SITUATIONS
 
ALSO SEE:
FIVE PARAMETERS FOR STORY DESIGN
 
7*CARTOON
THE PULP ART OF JAMES AVATI
 
8*PRESCRIPTION
THE SKILLET LICKERS
COTTON-EYED JOE
 
9*RUMOR PATROL
The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascism in America
 
10* LAGNIAPPE
FOR ALL MY FRIENDS WHO GREW UP IN RHODE ISLAND 
You cried when Salty Brine’s collie Jeff died.
You remember when Art Lake and Salty Brine had dark hair.
You remember Sara Wye, Franz Laubert, Mort Blender, and Jay Kroll.
You remember Jack Comley and Dick Pace doing talk radio on WJAR.
You remember the Outlet Company at Christmastime: Toyland in the basement and the Christmas windows.
You smile wistfully when you think of the names Shepards, Woolworths, Grants, Peerless, Gladdings, and City Hall Hardware.
You remember Newberry’s downtown.
You remember when they turned Westminster Street into a mall.
You remember when Kmart was still Kresge’s.
You bought your books at Read-All or the Paperback Bookstore on Weybosset Street.
Before you went home from a trip downtown you bought some fruit or groceries from the Market Basket.
You once ate at the Ming Garden or the Waldorf Cafeteria.
You remember when it was the Sheraton Biltmore.
You were assured by classmates that the Industrial National Bank building was the same one as in the opening of the Superman TV series.
You remember when they used to show all the Disney films at the Majestic Theater.
You remember the RKO Albee, the Loew’s State, and the Strand.
Your mom wouldn’t let you go near the Strand ’cause they showed “dirty movies.”
You remember that neat paperback bookstore cattycorner from the Outlet having so many books and rock posters that the cashier had to sit up in a little booth.
Being bussed to the Rhode Island Philharmonic once a year for a special concert for schoolchildren.
You remember when that big pyramid that became Apex went up in Pawtucket.
You remember when WPRI was WPRO.
You remember neighborhood bakeries and all the great pastries they carried: lemon squares, New Yorkers, cornets, zeppoles, and sfogliatelles.
You know what a hermit is (and it’s not a strange old guy who lives alone in the woods).
You remember when Garden City was just about the only shopping center out in that direction.
You remember when Garden City was just about the only thing out there besides farms and houses and how at Christmastime when they put up their light display you could drive to the top of Laurel Hill Avenue and see it shining like a beacon in the distance .
You remember the coal tipple that used to be on the north side of Sakonasset Road at what’s now the “back end” of Garden City.
You remember Child World.
Your parents would threaten to “send you to Sakonasset” when you were particularly bad.
Your mother would say, when you made her crazy, “You’re going to drive me to Howard!”
You remember Reservoir Avenue when it was only two lanes.
You remember driving north to Massachusetts before there was an interstate, on Routes 1 and 128, or maybe out Route 6 to the Cape, or up 146.
You have fond memories of Rocky Point, Crescent Park, and Jolly Cholly’s.
You remember when Rhode Island Mall was Midland Mall . . You remember when Midland Mall opened.
You remember the junkyard that used to be across from Fiore Pontiac (and you wondered if the old trade-ins went there).
You used to love the Cranston Drive-In.
You wondered if they gave out free samples at the Eclipse syrup plant.
You remember free parking at the beach.
Your mom grocery shopped at Almacs, Stop and Shop, Finast, or the A&P.
Heck, when your mom shopped at a neighborhood supermarket like Food Town.
You remember Warwick Shopper’s World, Niantic Mills, and the Ben Franklin Store.
Your parents still referred to Warwick Shopper’s World and Ann & Hope as “mill outlets” and going to one of these stores was “going to the mill.”
Your parents still referred to the airport as “Hillsgrove.”
You remember when the section of Cranston at the intersection of Park Avenue and Gansett Avenue was called “the Speedway.”
You know what a “superette” and a “spa” were (and that the latter had nothing to do with health clubs).
You remember when Bald Hill Road was almost all farms.
You remember the big old buildings in downtown Newport waterfront before they remodeled it.
You remember when there wasn’t a McDonald’s in Rhode Island.
You remember Burger Chef and Jeff.
You bought a small Del’s Lemonade for only a dime, Hershey bars for 10 cents, popsicles a nickel, and penny candy–for a penny!
You remember going to Stamp’s Farm for eggs and Highland Orchards for apples.
You passed the Narragansett Brewery on your way downtown–and people were working there.
One of the big landmarks on Post Road was the Scholes roller rink.
Every time a hurricane was forecast your mom and dad or grandparents would immediately talk about the Hurricane of 1938.
Heck, they’d take you downtown to show you the high-water plaque on the Providence Journal-Bulletin building.
You remember Trifari and Coro being two of the biggest employers in town.
Instead of getting your chickens from the supermarket, your mom or dad went to the chicken man in Silver Lake.
Your parents took you to the Slater Zoo.
You remember Bosco and Maypo.
You remember the old Calart’s Christmas display.
You remember the big rivalry between Old Stone Bank and Citizens Bank–especially between the kids who had savings accounts with either bank in school.
The moment you drove out of Rhode Island no one had coffee milk or coffee ice cream any longer.
You still have nightmares about “Choo-Choo” on the Railroad Salvage commercials.
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
MY FUZZY VALENTINE 
Come live with me and be my love, 
I’ll even come and help you move. 
Whenas in silks my Julia goes, 
I hope she owns some less expensive clothes. 
This is the month, and this the happy morn 
Our dish begins to pick up cable porn. 
Call for the robin redbreast and the wren, 
I’ll be watching wrestling in the den. 
Mortality behold, and fear, 
We’re almost out of bottled beer. 
Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part 
There’s never been an argument you wouldn’t start. 
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, 
I figure I’ll go drinking with the guys. 
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 
And now it’s time to squander all my pay. 
It was a fearful and a dismal night, 
My nose was broken in a drunken fight; 
Sleep, angry beauty, sleep and fear not me! 
I’ll come a-sneaking in at half-past three. 
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest 
Too drunk and sick to get undressed. 
Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers? 
It comes from drinking gin from plastic tumblers. 
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year’s pleasant king, 
And Sammy, Frank, and Dean go Ring-a-Ding-Ding.  
 
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 732.
25 WTF KIRBY CREATIONS
A note of explanation for those not familiar with late 70s/early 80s Kirby: As Scott Shaw has observed, Kirby the only artist who, when you mention he created a fighting fetus, you have to say “Which one?” (The first was in his adaptation of “2001”; the second was in “Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers” and was named Paranex, “a giant armored fetus who is a member of a band of intergalactic pirates.”)
http://www.ugo.com/the-goods/25-wtf-kirby-creations
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THE INFORMATION #773 FEBRUARY 28, 2014

THE INFORMATION
#773 FEBRUARY 28, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
 
It is vain for the coward to flee; death follows close behind; it is only by defying it that the brave escape. –Voltaire

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART THIRTY-TWO: THE FALL

We wandered the back streets of Noxtown, Ketman and me, looking for people who were in need of a medicine man but who couldn’t afford the fees of a regular doctor. In one day alone, I saw “Doc” cure a bad burn, a toothache, and a case of glanders in a young horse.

Doctor Ketman also had many thimble-sized tattoos all along the front of his chest, many of which also had mystic significance, though he wouldn’t explain them to me for fear they would lose their power. These were in red ink, to match his hair, and included a cross, an anchor, a star, a heart with an arrow through it, a fish, a gun, a moon and stars, a snake, a pair of dice, a pyramid, and a dove.

Ketman thought he had in me a small disciple, and he told me in so many words that his was not the path to follow. Said he came over the boat in ’48, and was but a wee lad, but already had the talent for woodcraft. He was apprenticed to a German farmer off in the hinterlands, and apparently so impressed the man with his root work that he was exempted from many of the usual chores around the farm. On one occasion, he managed to cure the man’s eldest son of a bite from a rabid dog, though some jealous folks said the dog warn’t rabid at all and the bite would of healed of its own accord. Whatever the true version, at age eighteen, Ketman was released from his obligations on the farm to wander where he would. He first fell into the life of a carny worker, which is where, he said, he met a wonderful swami who could not only tell fortunes but actually change them. With an air of great and almost feverish confidentiality, Ketman  told me that the world was truly a world of chaos, and that most people are fools who try not to think of this and keep their heads down, and others, the real fools, recognize that the world is in turmoil and try to master it. He told me that the Swami told him that the supreme secret was that control was an illusion, and that the illusion of control is therefore as potent as actual control. “If this be not so,” said the Swami, then all beliefs are lies. The Swami also told him that the man of iron will is the man who will prevail through the iron season, while he who does not have iron in him shall bend to the winds of prevailing fashion and won’t amount to shucks. As he was telling me these things, he began to get more and more excited, as though he were being unloosed for the first time of a great burden.

It was at this point that I thought I would ask him about some of his charms.

“How do I keep an enemy at bay?”

“That part is simple, child. You write the name of the twelve apostles on a sheet of vellum and you carry it in your shoe, and your enemy will be powerless to harm you.”  

“How do I strike down an enemy?”

“That is bad magic, and I won’t tell you how it is done, because once you meddle with the dark forces, the sinister side, the dark forces will suck you in, and you will be a servant of the sinister side. Even for one such as I, it is highly dangerous and I work black spells as little as possible. The best way to get back at an enemy is to conduct yourself in such a way that he cannot do you harm. Often it is the very thought he has that he is hounding you that gives him the most satisfaction. Of course, you could use the same incantation I use to chasten bad dogs: Me he made, thee he suffers. Be careful about cursing someone by using his name. It can backfire and cause you to be the party who is subject to the curse. If there’s some boy who bothers you, my advice is just to stay far away from him.”

Ketman then grew melancholy, and sat down next to his wagon. “If I’d of had my way,” said Ketman, “I’d of stayed in school and learned some real knowledge, instead of following the carny and the medicine show and stuffing my head full of sham and swindles. I’d have become a penman and maybe whomped up a book full of my secret spells and bought me a house with a little garden where I could perform my experiments instead of charging off to graveyards and railroad crossings to find my herbs and roots and simples. I’m telling you all this, yellof, so you don’t go off making the same mistakes as I done. It’s the least I can do for Red Mary, who has taken quite a shine to you. She’d scratch off my dial plate if she thought I was giving you a bum steer. If I had my way, then shucks, maybe I would of become a real Doctor. It pains me to admit as much, because most Docs think of me as their sworn enemy and I don’t have much use for none of them either. But theirs is a higher-grade racket. Pay is more regular. The heyday of the root worker is past. Can’t hardly find any but the old folks and the colored folks who put much stock in it. Oh, a few young ‘uns, here and there is interested, but mostly they’re too busy with their baseball and their liquor and their wanting to go to trade school and like that. No, there ain’t hardly any future in being a root worker, or going on the bum in particular. Time was when a tramp could find an honest job and settle down. Not no more. Nowadays, he’s hounded from town to town—times is tight—nobody needs him—nobody wants to see him—he’s a menace—and folks like me just naturally get lumped in with the Hobo, even though I’m far from that. I am a skilled practitioner of folk medicine, I am. Off in the back-country is the only place where what I know is truly appreciated, but the frost in beginning to settle on my cheeks and the wide ramble ain’t quite so appealing to me no more-a-days.”

I told him that he still had a place in the world. I flattered him mercilessly, just so I could get at some of the secret knowledge which I, in my great foolish naivete, thought that he and only he was in possession of.

1*SALUTATION
VICTOR LUNDBERG
AN OPEN LETTER TO MY TEENAGE SON
 
ALSO SEE:
THINGS GET A LITTLE EASIER
 
THE UNIVERSAL COWARD
 
THE BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERETS
 
2*REFERENCE
DEMOGRAPHIC WEB SITES
 
3*HUMOR
RED HAIR AND FRECKLES
THE PEP BOYS (1929)
 
4*NOVELTY
WORLD ANCESTRY MAP
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH AN ANGRY WAL-MART MANAGER
 
ALSO SEE:
WHY WAL-MART’S CUSTOMER SERVICE IS HORRIBLE
 
6* DAILY UTILITY
BOOKS ON LINCOLN
 
7*CARTOON
SOVIET RETRO POSTERS
 
ALSO SEE:
NAZI COLLABORATION POSTERS
 
8*PRESCRIPTION
WHY THE MARKET IS STARTING TO LOOK LIKE 1929
 
9*RUMOR PATROL
THE DUTCH: THREAT OR MENACE?
 
10* LAGNIAPPE
BOB DYLAN’S NEW ADVERTISER-FRIENDLY ALBUM
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
WHAT THE WELL-DRESSED MAN WILL WEAR
Isn’t it a kick in the head to realize that even elevator operators were once among the legions of scrupulously well-dressed adults?
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 731.
BUMPER STICKERS, TRANSLATED (III)
MY OTHER CAR IS A…
I own more than one car. That’s me–affluent.PRESERVE YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
I prefer shooting guns and making a fetish of weaponry to sexual intercourse.I ❤ …
I have uniquely individualistic interests which i feel impelled to boast about.

INTERNATIONAL LICENSE PLATE CODE
Yes, my car and I have been to exotic destinations you have probably never heard of. 

____ IS FOR LOVERS
I am eager to announce to the world the name of the American State in which I and my spouse spent our honeymoon and/or sexual getaway weekend. 

VISUALIZE WHIRLED PEAS
My uniquely whimsical wit is best expressed by a mass-produced slogan ironically affixed to my car.

IN GOD WE TRUST, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH
A clever play on words indicates that I have an appealing sense of humor.

SCENIC ______
I have been to a popular tourist attraction in a faraway state, which shows that I have enough money to take a vacation and am, therefore, an individual of no inconsiderable wealth and status.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL POLICE
I am a law-abiding citizen and am therefore also a good person, so please don’t arrest me. 

GOD IS THE WAY
I am an alcoholic who has found Jesus.

SHUT UP AND DRIVE
I resent the fact that you have friends who care about you and that you talk with them on the phone. Also, you’re not keeping your speed steady. 

CRUCIFIX SYMBOL
I believe strongly that I must obey the God that people like me also worship.

AUM SYMBOL
I believe strongly that I must obey the non-God that people like me also worship.

EDUCATORS AGAINST WAR
I think we should spend far less money on weapons and far more money enriching teacher’s unions.

DON’T LAUGH, IT’S PAID FOR
My risible vehicle may be decrepit, but at least it represents a genuine source of equity in these troubled times.

I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CRAZY, BUT IT KEPT ME FROM GOING INSANE
An outrageously inflammatory statement points to my intrinsically rebellious nature. 

THE INFORMATION #772 FEBRUARY 21, 2014

THE INFORMATION
#772 FEBRUARY 21, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
 
You’d better not kno so much than know so many things that ain’t so.–Josh Billings 
 

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART THIRTY-ONE: THE FALL

As I roamed with Doctor Peter Ketman on his travels—what he liked to call his “rambles” or “house calls”–in what I was given to understand was a great favor, he explained the significance of some of his tattoos to me. “The mermaid means I will never drown in any sea or flood. The globe means that I will travel the world round and word of my doings will always precede me. The green dragon is especially potent. One time I had but to touch it, and I cured a toothless baby of the yellow jaundice. That, alongside of some tea made from pouring boiling water over a powerful magnet. Now, don’t get me wrong–there are a great many Docs who go in for the homeopathic. I don’t mean to horn in on their racket, but let me tell you that I’m not one who goes in for that variety of fol-de-rol. My form of spell casting is more basic still. Like attracts to like, I always say. The circling ravens on my shoulders mean that I will never be caught by a jealous husband or a hidden enemy, for the ravens will warn me–as one of their brothers. There’s no great secret in communicating with the animals—you just have to listen to them. Listen with every fiber of your being. The crucifix means I draw down the power of Jesus, and the all-seeing eye means I draw down the Power of God. I only use that for serious work—like when a ghost is haunting the farmstead—usually it’s the ghost of a dead boy—killed in a harvesting accident—cut down in the prime of life—wants to lay a bad curse on the man who married his sweetheart—the all-seeing eye of God tells him to make tracks—leave the earth behind and take his reward in heaven—God is a God of love but that don’t mean there’s no place for hatred in the cosmos, for there most definitely is—does the hawk hate the mouse? No, ner does the mouse hate the hawk—they are acting out their roles, and that is all. The dagger is for to cure men who are heart sick, and the heart is to cure womenfolk and their troubles–farm girls who marry too young and often die young too—you’re old enough to know—childbirth—I’ve saved more than a one with herbs and potions where even a midwife was set up to fail–say naught of a regular doctor.”

“What these tattooes of mine really mean, Yellof, is that you is got to make your way in the world,” said Ketman, “Any way you can. There is never any profit,” Ketman would grandly say, “setting up stakes beneath the coward’s tree. The warrior goes into battle with both eyes open.” 

I’m not denying that Ketman had got some power from somewhere. He would go from house to house waving a little doll and the folk as believed in him would set out for him the finest food and drink they could afford.

He would even, on fair days during early thaws, range further afield, from farm to farm, mounted on a fine steed he got from who knows where, drawing a three-wheeled wagon, and the farm folk would ask him to bless their fields and cattle; to deliver invocations and perform divinations–like, for instance dowsing for water in the vicinity of dry wells–all of which he would perform with root work and incantations. He preferred to be paid in gold coin–he told the farmers, rather self-servingly, that the spells he cast were more effective if paid for in that fashion. But he would take silver, or paper money, or even work his spells in trade for produce and preserves and the occasional pretty bauble which would go a long way, he might have thought, in earning the good will of Red Mary, though, as of late, he had set his sights lower and instead was whoring after a new girl name of Carol O’Day, and had even settled his gimlet eye on Little Jane, who I considered my sweetheart, though I was too young as of yet to know what to do with her.

Likely the source of his appeal and his power was in his background, which he kept as mysterious as he could, but which I learned bits and pieces of by keeping my ears open whenever the topic of the Root man came up among the loafers at the Seven Stars.

“Tell the Rev-rund,” said one of the loafers, “the REAL Witchy-Man is back in town.”

“Tell him NOTHin’.”

 

“The Rev-rund is a big chunk of lard.”

 

 “The both of ’em has the mash for Red Mary, says I.”

 

“Heard tell the Witchy-Man got run out of Geechy Lake.”

“Heerd the Witchy-Man is got a yen for Red Mary.”

“Don’t let the Witchy-man hear you making fun!”

“Don’t let Red Mary hear you!”

“Heard he make-a the mash with Red Mary.”

“Wonder what the Fool Killer would think of that.”

“The Fool Killer” was the name the bar-room loafers had bestowed upon Smash Conklin. They thought that when I was in the room, they would somehow deceive me into thinking they weren’t talking about him, but I was too sly for them. I could always tell when they were talking about something they didn’t want me to hear, because one of them would say “Little pitchers” or “small jug-handles,” and then look off, and then peer sidelong but meaningfully in my general direction, and then look off again.

I reported all this talk back to Peter Ketman. I figured I had nothing to lose by taking his side.  

Here was the equation: Ketman had charms wherewith to sooth the savage beast, and if there ever was a savage, then Conklin was one. Doping out whether to do him in was the easy part. Putting all the puzzle pieces and figuring out how would be the stumper. How could I use Ketman to get back at Conklin? I was to discover the answer sooner, rather than later.

 
1*SALUTATION
THE FEELIES
CRAZY RHYTHMS
 
2*REFERENCE
 
3*HUMOR
MAGICAL MISERY TOUR 

BY MICHAEL O’DONOGHUE AND RANDALL ENOS: 
http://www.drawger.com/kroninger/?article_id=8388 
 
4*NOVELTY
PARIS REVIEW INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
CHINA VS. JAPAN
 
6* DAILY UTILITY
HOW TO MAKE MASHED POTATOES
 
COMMENTARY:
Some people put truck such as celery or even olives in their potato salad. But all you really need is boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, onion, mayonnaise and salt.-ed.
 
One tip I picked up recently from america’s test kitchen: don’t add potatoes to already-boiling water; they won’t cook through evenly. instead, put potatoes in empty pot, add water to cover them, then gradually bring up to a boil and let them cook. remove when they are fork-tender.–Steve Prygoda
 
Mayonnaise is actually a very good addition to mashed potatoes as well.–Richard Smoley
 
7*CARTOON
WEIRD AND CREEPY VALENTINE’S CARDS
 
ALSO SEE:
INCREDIBLY RACIST VALENTINE’S CARDS
 
8*PRESCRIPTION
9*RUMOR PATROL
BURNING MAN AGENDA
 
10* LAGNIAPPE
THE MODERN LOVERS
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
ON WRITING
Don’t write: Console yourself with soothing guff
(As if the lies you’ve lived by weren’t enough)?
Misfortunes come from too much reading
When you’ve got no fortune and you’ve got no breeding.
The word is too much with us, soon and late
We come to be the person people love to hate.
This sad truth is confess’d and it isn’t funny;
Not even fools take up the pen expecting money.
Anyone can publish; this is what it breeds;
A world where everybody writes and no one reads.
With faint praise critics come to your defense;
His writing’s like an angel’s but he has no sense.
But fail to please the public with insipid yarns
And your work will be remaindered to be sold in barns.
The greatest insight that I’ve ever had
Is this: That writing makes you truly mad.
Atlas holding up the world is quite absurd;
It’s difficult enough to hold up the word.
I hate to sound a cynic or resort to labels:
Uncertain the career misspent in crafting fables.
 
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 730.
BUMPER STICKERS, TRANSLATED (II)
BEER DRINKERS MAKE BETTER LOVERS
I am fat and reek of stale hops.

LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY
Even though I drive a flashy car, I hate myself and I want to die.

ANY COLLEGE STICKER
Ha Ha! I went to college or can afford to send my children to college, and I’ll tell the world!

ANY IVY LEAGUE COLLEGE STICKER
Status is all I care about.

ANY TEAM MASCOT
I reagrd an athletic team mascot as my totem animal.

ANY SPORTS LOGO
Hooray for wealthy athletes who represent my city!

VOTE NO ON GUN CONTROL
Weapons make me feel powerful.

USA #1
Subconciously, at least, I realize that this is a bitter joke, but I shall nonetheless publically affirm that our empire is foremost.

____ IS FOR LOVERS
Romantic love is an illusion which I cling to.

CAN’T DRIVE 55
My self-destructive impulse to break speed laws affirms my fading masculinity.

BABY ON BOARD
I fear your erratic driving, for I have successfully fostered infantine progenny who may or may not be currently occupying this vehicle.

VOTE DEMOCRATIC
I care deeply about liberal causes.

VOTE REPUBLICAN
I despise our current chief executive.

LET GO…LET GOD
I fearlessly broadcast my conventional religious beliefs.

LEGALIZE IT
I believe that marijuana, the use of which I heartily endorse, is not a mere stupificant but actually an ancient and miraculous medicinal herb.

YOU TOUCHA MY CAR, I BREAKA YOU FACE
Stay away from me, and from my car, which is an extension of me! Or else!

DRIVE AMERICAN
I openly declare with jingoistic fervor my quaint belief that purchasing only American-made products is de rigueur.

THE INFORMATION #771 FEBRUARY 14, 2014

THE INFORMATION
#771 FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Copyright 2014 FRANCIS DIMENNO
http://dimenno.gather.com
francisdimenno@yahoo.com
https://dimenno.wordpress.com

Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude. –Dale Carnegie

WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE

BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER EIGHT: PART THIRTY: THE FALL
It was at about the time of mid-winter, known to some as St. Brigid’s Day, that the spirits of chaos were running high–and then, too, it was that I run into “Doctor” Peter Ketman, who was no longer looching around on the Toby as part of a traveling medicine show. He had finally wended his way back to Noxtown to winter for the season, after having been driven out of his regular Southern route by too-diligent Sheriff’s Deputies working hand in glove with too-vigilant certified medical doctors, who were beginning to raise a mighty stink regarding fine upstanding peddlers of folk remedies such as himself.

He was a dreamy fella, was Peter Ketman the medicine show man, with flaxen red hair and a scanty red beard like the Underwood Devil on the canned ham label, always after invoking the fire of the sun and also the other spirits, usually Christian, generally by way of exclamations including God’s Word!, Jesu’s Blood!, and Mother’s Milk of the Holy Virgin Mary! These were not profane ejaculations but heartfelt spells. “Many people in Noxtown,” said Ketman, “believe in neither hell nor heaven, but among my tribe such men are few.” He would also intone such invocations as Abraxa Catabax! and Potmat Sineat! and Pontio Pilato! When I asked him the significance of these, he said they had none–“in the hands of an unbeliever. But a person who is in touch with the spirit force may, with words and gestures, draw down the spirits of the sun, the moon, and the blue sky itself to assist him.”

His return saw me once more kow-towing to the “Doc” and I was like a crazed barber with a hot towel looking art the master’s wants and needs and generally making a gobbling nuisance of myself when around him, and putting the kibosh on my usual back-sass and generally acting as though he was the greatest personage to grace those precincts since Teddy Roosevelt, and that every word that fell from his lips was like unto the Manna of the antient Hebrews.

Ketman had an animalistic look about him, and small wonder–folks say he had the right eye of a wolf sewn up in his right sleeve. I know for a fact that he also had various small but gaudy tattoos, of supernatural significance, which he took great pains to show to me. These, as I recollect, depicted on his right arm a green dragon, a crown, and a crucifix; on his right arm a lion, an elephant, a bearded man, and a sphinx; on his right leg a corpse, a dagger, and a globe; on his left leg an all-seeing eye, a phoenix, and a bell; and on his back from bottom to top he had a spider, a tiger riding in a one-hoss shay, a bear on a unicycle, a woman embracing three lengths of chain, a skull in a cobra’s basket, a mermaid, a coiled rattlesnake, and a pair of circling ravens on the back of each shoulder. “I have only to touch one of these emblems,” said he, “and wondrous cures and hexes can be effected. I don’t claim to cure cancer, but I can ease toothache with the sign of the cobra and soothe teething pains in babies with the sign of the elephant. Note the broken tusk? Like attracts to like, they always say. Homeopathic cures is good for those as believes in them, says I, but all I had to do is tell the widder woman on Lonely Street that she is under the protection of the sign of the bearded man–I don’t even have to show him to her–and, quick as a wink, she’s fast asleep for the first time since her hiccups and insomnia started, three days back. I don’t often show my flash to mere lads. These are powerful icons. If I thought you were setting up to be my enemy, I would never let you so much as even look at them.” 

Me, personally, I wasn’t really quite that taken in by Ketman; I knew that as a root worker he was a bit of a phonus balonus, but I had a scheme to get back at Uglyface Smash Conklin and if that fraudulent  Yellof Ketman could help me in any way I was willing to make a consarned ee-jit of myself. It was easy–Ketman had a yen for Red Mary and was ever the sly red fox allus looching about the henhouse where the ladies of pleasure, not yet biddies, clucked and strutted and transacted their venereal bidness.

I done all this–mooching around with Ketman–because I did promise myself–by all the imaginary little audience of angels that sat in bleachers applauding or booing my every move–and by all the devils on my shoulder tempting me to intemperate deeds–and by all the spirits of the woodland and the ghosts of the city and the tempestuous presences of the abandoned woodlots and farmsteads–that I would put paid for Smash Conklin. To do that, I would watch everything that Ketman done, and learn what I could. 

When it comes to protecting those they love and depend upon, a kiddie of twelve is scarcely more than an animal, after all,  ranging the whole world wide in search of vengeance.  Walk lightly on a little Yellof’s thoughts; they are pregnant with the spring-tide  of his youth. It’s enough to make a cat laugh, how solemnly a little fellow goes about the serious business of his play and his fancies. Hanging about with Ketman, he learned me. The little fellow has got to learn every day the consequences. Of loving the wrong girl. Of not tending to his bidness. Of neglecting his studies, such as they were for an inveterate player of hooky. You can’t swing on a shadow, though. Ketman told me that children must not pick up dead things–they have a power of their own.  He put great stock in the power of caraway and sunflower seeds, which he was always nibbling at like a vain and dainty little fox. “Many a yellof has fallen because he wouldn’t learn from those who work the roots and herbs,” said he. In Noxtown he would range from door to door dispensing potions and powders and pills and he never was afraid of no bad Dog–“Me He made, thee He suffers, hound,” he would say to every slavering and vicious brute, and he would make three hidden signs, and the animal would become suddenly meek and shy, quivering all over, with teeth chattering and his tail between his legs.

He had the opposite effect, it seems, on cats, who would approach him by slinking up to him gradual and purring—even to the most snarling wild and unkempt article. Sometimes he almost seemed to be part cat himself, with his green eyes and his sly and secretive way of rubbing his hands together. (But…I didn’t mention that to him.)

1*SALUTATION
THE BLUE SKY BOYS
ARE YOU FROM DIXIE?
 
2*REFERENCE
10 WEIRDEST PHYSICS FACTS
“All the matter that makes up the human race could fit in a sugar cube.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/6546462/The-10-weirdest-physics-facts-from-relativity-to-quantum-physics.html
 
3*HUMOR
LOU REED: UGLY PEOPLE GOT NO REASON TO LIVE
BY JOSH ALAN FRIEDMAN
 
4*NOVELTY
SCIENTIFIC ATTEMPT TO CREATE MOST ANNOYING SONG EVER
 
ALSO SEE:
SCIENTIFIC ATTEMPT TO CREATE MOST APPEALING SONG EVER
 
SEE ALSO:
ERN MALLEY
 
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
 
6* DAILY UTILITY
EUROPE’S SOCIETY ORCHESTRA
DOWN HOME RAG (1913)
 
7*CARTOON
 
ALSO SEE:
X-MEN RATED FROM WORST TO BEST
 
8*PRESCRIPTION
WRITING ADVICE
 
ALSO SEE:
THE SIX STORIES THAT GO VIRAL

9*RUMOR PATROL
10 MOST ESSENTIAL 70S CONSPIRACY THRILLERS
 
10* LAGNIAPPE
JOHNNY CARSON
 
ALSO SEE:
THE BEACH BOYS
JOHNNY CARSON
 
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
WALMART PHOTOS

CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE. 729.

BUMPER STICKERS, TRANSLATED

THESE COLORS DON’T RUN
I am adamant that the entire world know that, in my opinion, my country’s military does not consist of cowards.

JUST SAY NO
Children: Implausibly resist peer pressure encouraging your illegal use of contraband pharmaceuticals through acts of sheer will power.

MY CHILD IS AN HONOR STUDENT AT…
I an so neurotically proud of my child that I feel compelled to boast to indifferent strangers about his obscure scholastic achievements.

I ♥ MY DOG
I strongly identify to a very public and almost maniacal degree with certain purebred canines.

ECOLOGY SYMBOL
I am strongly committed to preventing the very ecological degradation which, incidentally, my car is helping to cause.

GLAD TO BE GAY
I am not only an avowed sodomite, but I am also anxious to reveal my sexual orientation to the entire world.

IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU’RE TOO DAMN CLOSE
I dread, and yet, nonetheless, simultaneously–and paradoxically–invite your scrutiny of my declaration that you are needlessly tailgating.

BABY ON BOARD
I fear your erratic driving, for I have successfully fostered hapless infantine progeny who may currently be riding in this vehicle.

YOU CAN’T HUG YOUR CHILDREN WITH NUCLEAR ARMS
I prefer physical contact with my children to paying taxes to purchase atomic weaponry, and I would like to gently remind you of that fact.

M.A.D.D.
My special status as a woman who has given birth lends added moral force to my admonitions regarding the operation of potentially lethal transportation devices while under the influence of intoxicating beverages.

GOD IS MY COPILOT
Not literally, perhaps, but in a figurative sense, I am willing to publicly affirm that this vehicle is in part also being piloted by a jealous deity first worshipped by a tribe of Semitic nomads several thousand years ago.

IF GUNS ARE OUTLAWED…
If my ready access to firearms (which I fearfully cling to as a secure raft in a storm) is in any way impeded, I am convinced that this country will become a nightmare land in which armed criminals roam free to commit their felonious assaults with impunity.

ONE DAY AT A TIME
Because I am avowedly an alcoholic, I feel the strong need to attest, publicly, to the need for a diurnal approach to the myriad stressful exigencies which plague the quotidian existence of sensitive addicts such as myself.