MODERN WISDOM NUMBER 200 JUNE 2015

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
NUMBER 200
JUNE 2015
Copyright 2015 Francis DiMenno
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com

 

  1. MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS: THE MODERN WISDOM DYSLEXICON

CINDERELLA. Frankenstein in drag.

CIRRHOSIS. Among alcoholics, a status disease.

CLUB DRUGS. All the psychoses with none of the inconvenient violence.

COCKROACHES. Are going upscale on me. They’ve tacked up a sign over the kitchen: “Welcome to Vermin Court. Weevils and silverfish, please use the servant’s entrance.”

COMEDY CLUB: A gulag for self-styled hipsters.

COMMON COLD. Good news. They’re found a cure. Bad news: the cure is heroin.

COMPROMISE: Surrender.

CONFEDERATE VETERANS. Gettysburg was their Woodstock.

CONFUCIUS. The great sage’s words have been reduced to clever sayings; a portent of what posterity holds for all people who have great ideas.

CONVOY. Supersized lemming colony.

COOLIDGE, CALVIN. People confused the fact that he said nothing with the fact that he had nothing to say.

 

  1. PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR THE HOMELESS THAT YOU WON’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE
    Winos take forever to come.
    Joker Rolling Papers purchased from 24 hour stores tend to stick together.
    The CVS brand is a GOOD rubbing alcohol; it’s not a GREAT rubbing alcohol….
    Instant mashed potatoes CAN go bad.
    Ex-cons will always try to play you for a chump.
    Pregnancy pants with the stretch band across the midriff are surprisngly comfy.
    Disposable needles tend to be blunter than non-disposables.
    It takes awhile to get used to a hook for a hand.                            

Home is where, when you go there, they tell you to get the hell out.

  1. MODERN PROVERBS 

    Visualize world police.
    High school is a hospital where they amputate your imagination.
    Nobody ever remembers the man who gives them the amnesia pills.
    There is nothing sadder than a superannuated funnyman.
    My anger is cool but yours is just stupid.
    The American Empire’s mythology is the commodification of all myth.
    The losers can also write history.
    Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
    My police state, right or wrong.
    This is no country for old memes.
    No ideology please, we’re Americans.
    America is zoned for business, not beauty.
    While the world about us rages, let’s go back to the media pages.
    Television programming is the random ephemera of an infinite flea market.
    Justice is no more than a luxury.
    Art is a time capsule for the zeitgeist.
    What manner of man doth dare declare me pompous?
    Advertising is a cheerful record of American selfishness.
    Tradition must change.
    Irony “rules,” “ok?”
    Hate will also find a way.
    We’re all somebody’s idiot.
    Experience is a useful pill to purge optimism.
    My instinct is to do the indecisive thing–but I’m not sure exactly
    what that is.
    A memoir commemorates our self-deception .
    The present isn’t what it used to be.
    Abandon hope, all ye who hit ‘enter’ here.
    Old men often offer laughably anachronistic advice.
    Candor is our only socially acceptable guile.
    Life is simply a quiet accumulation of tyrannies and traumas.
    Let a simile be your umbrella.
    You have the right to remain salient.
    Me is the new you.
    A marriage is made in heaven and lived in hell.
    There is a terrifying wasteland between innocence and hysteria.
    Inside of every woman there’s a fat man struggling to get out–me.
    All liberals are stupid and all conservatives are fat.
    Key definitions drive the plot.
    Fanaticism is belief exploded and hardened into dogma.
    The categories of our expectations are made to be ruptured.
    Our short national daydream is beginning.
    Democratic politics seldom explores the vast middle ground between
    buffoonery and cant.
    Past controversies are always quaint.
    Junkies are like, so 20th century.
    Life is but a gene.
    The simplest explanation is always this: They lied.
    The shameless succeed.
    When we reunite with our relatives we become uncomfortable spectators
    of our own stupidities.
    Procreation is the thief of time.
    We also rage against the coming of the light.
    We are often more spinned against than spinning.
    Sound is a bell and silence is that it has not been rung.
    Our choice of friends merely betrays the networks of our ambivalence.
    Time creates the mosaic of reality.
    Now is always the bronze age.
    They want to make you think there’s something wrong.
    Our destiny whistles through a hollow shell.
    It’s the end of the word as we know it and I–
    Let’s not forget the sins of the grandfathers, too.
    Beware the patience of an angry man.
    Pepperoni is just baloney with attitude.
    All art is sexual harassment.
    All slogans are rhetorical substitutes for evidence.
    Xenophobes all ought to go back to where they didn’t come from.
    Save the country–win valuable prizes!
    The internet is a fount of useful misinformation.
    Propaganda is a machine for the betrayal of the meaning of words.
    Televison is a voracious mirror.
    Driving is dada.
    The more illusory the enemy the more relentlessly he must be hunted down.
    Impracticality is the greatest sin.
    Many things once considered right in time become wrong.
    Who push the experts on, they are the gods.
    Arty means dirty and smart means dull.

  1. VICE PRESIDENT COPSY.

    Synopsis: President Calvin Coolidge, inveterate prankster, decides to
    appoint a midget to be his Vice President for a day. But he soon comes
    to find out that…the little man has big ideas of his own!  What
    follows is a series of dialogues between Silent Cal and the voluble
    midget, who immediately asks for elevator shoes and a top hat to belie
    his short stature.

    You’re not going to read about it in the history books, or even in any
    recent biography of President “Silent Cal” Coolidge, no matter how
    comprehensive. But, as it happens, this is a true story about what
    took place during one day in 1923 when Coolidge, newly assuming to the
    Presidency, decided to play a prank on the electorate and appoint as
    his Vice-President a midget from the Black and Red Carnival, which
    happened to be in Washington D.C. that day. Remember that these were
    simpler times. Coolidge, famous for being an early riser, merely
    strolled over to the Carnival grounds at about 6am and asked the
    proprietor, a dumbfounded Jacques “Old Blackie” Vapula, whether he had
    any midgets he could “loan” him. Old Blackie, after he got over his
    original astonishment, allowed that Cushy the Dwarf, also known as
    “Copsy,” would admirably fill the bill. “I’ll warn you, though,” said
    Black Jack, “that the little man has got a big temper. Thinks he’s
    ‘the stuff’. But you’re welcome to borrow him. He’s been in a bit of a
    sulk lately, anyhow. His father was the same way. ”

    A footnote: Coolidge, as was his parsimonious wont, made no reference
    to payment, and Black Jack was too overawed to ask for any.

    Riding back to the White House in a Pierce-Arrow limousine, Coolidge
    asked the midget (he was well-formed; not really a dwarf) why he was
    called Copsy. The little man immediately shot back, “Why are you
    called ‘Mr. President’?”

    “Because I’m the President. “

    “Well, that’s why I’m called Copsy. You heard of Topsy?”

    “Ye-es.”

    “Well, Topsy wasn’t born; she jes’ growed. I’m Copsy; I just crowed.”

    It is to be presumed that this nonsensical patter pleased the
    President, because the two of them proceeded past the gates of the
    main entrance of the south side of the White House, and walked,
    unescorted, into the West Wing .

    We have only Copsy’s own report for the preceding exchange; however,
    the White House stenographer,  W. A. Perkins,  is to be thanked for
    the transcript of the dialog which follows.

    Coolidge: So how do you like travelling with the circus?

    Copsy: It’s the shits, yer honor. Begging your pardon.

    Coolidge: What’s so bad about it, if I may ask.

    Copsy: Ask away, stoneface. I’ll tellya, a guy like me, can’t even get
    laid unless you give away a big stuffed bear to some likely bit o’
    poontang.

    Coolidge: I’m afraid I don’t quite understand half of what you’re saying.

    Copsy: Or maybe you understand me all too well. Look, Chief, we’re all
    adults here. And you ain’t exactly no sucking babe.  It’s a good thing
    your stenog ain’t no she-male, else her ears would be flaming red.
    What’cha drag me over to this joint for, anyhoo?

    Coolidge: How would you like to be my honorary Vice President for a day?

    Copsy: Are you shittin’ me? I’d like it swell, Chief.  But…

    Coolidge: Yes?

    Copsy: Do you think you could get me something in the way of liquid
    refreshment? It’s been a long time between drinks.

    Coolidge. What would you like? Lemonade? Moxie? A glass of iced water?

    Copsy: Phaw-haw-haw! You really are a Larry, ain’t yuh? I’m looking
    for a stimulant. Whiskey, gin, hell, I’ll even take rum.

    Coolidge: I think I could set you up with a glass of Brandy. But
    surely you don’t wish to imbibe this early. It’s only seven o’clock in
    the morning.

    Copsy:  I like to keep odd hours. Now’s just about the time when I go
    to bed. A little nightcap will brace me right up.

    Coolidge: You really are quite a little character, aren’t you?

    Copsy: You ain’t so bad yourself, for a Looky-Loo.  So what does this
    job amount to? You want me to smile for the birdie and look pretty?

    Perkins: I think, Mr. President, he means do you want to have his picture taken?

    Copsy: Saay, Chief—who is this bird?

    Coolidge: My Stenographer.

    Copsy: Well, tell him not to butt in.

    Coolidge: I don’t suppose you know how to sew. I have some socks that
    need mending.

    Copsy: Phaw-haw-haw! [Pause.] Oh—you’re serious, ain’t yuh?

    Coolidge: Many people say so.

    Copsy: Phaw-haw-haw!

    Coolidge: My observations are for my own diversion. They are not
    intended to entertain.

    Copsy: Say—where can a fellow get a bite to eat around here?

    Coolidge: I was just about to sit down to breakfast. Steaky. And potatoes.

    [Breakfast is brought in. At this point the transcript devolves into a
    great deal of slurping and smacking from Copsy, along with cries of
    “Eat ‘em up” and “Mm-boy, that’s good!”]

    Copsy: That was a good little snack. You really know how to tie on the
    feed-bag, don’t yuh? Say—you wouldn’t happen to have a good cigar now,
    would you?

    Coolidge: It just so happens that I do.

    Copsy: Say…this is a good cigar.

    Coolidge: I must say that it is customary to remove the band before smoking it.

    Copsy: Me, I always keep it on—in case I want to save some for later.

    Coolidge: You’re quite the little man, aren’t you?

    Copsy: I’ll tell the world!

    Coolidge: I mean to say, you’re quite the big man—among your circus friends?

    Copsy: None bigger.

    Coolidge: I’m telling you this, my man, to make you cheerful., because
    I’m going to make a few remarks about your manners. They’re atrocious!

    Copsy: Atrocious? What’s that—a city in New York? I played Rochester
    once. Wotta  dump! But they did have this fried chicken joint that was
    outta this world. I wonder if it’s still there?  They had a great
    sweet and hot sauce that was out of sight. I remember I got tired
    of trying to sleep in my trailer, because the elephant had a toothache
    and was bellowing all night.  So I got me a haircut at Ray’s
    Barbershop and had a little snifter of something good at Vallot’s
    Tavern and then I stayed for a night at the Gibson Hotel. Back then it
    was run by the Gibson brothers, but I think one of them croaked.  We
    used to call them mole-heads, because the looked like a pair of
    snuffling moles. I remember it like it was yesterday—got up in the
    morning, had me a breakfast of bacon and eggs at LaRue’s Restaurant,
    and then it was back to the grind. Say, this being Vice President
    ain’t all that hard. You know, confidentially, I can think of two or
    three—got any more of that Brandy? Shall I just keep holt of the
    bottle there? Thanks, don’t mind if I do.  Anyway, Chief, I can hook
    you up  with two or three ways to improve this country that maybe you
    ought to look into.

    Coolidge. Thank you.

    Copsy: First of all, there ought to be a law against women drivers.
    Second, why can’t something be done about mothers-in-law? And, third,
    the owners of circuses and carnivals are some of the biggest crooks
    around. Can’t something be done to hem them in?

    Coolidge: I’m afraid that what you ask is quite impossible. As much as
    I’d like to help you.

    Copsy: Why not? You’re the President, ain’t youz? You can grant me my
    birthday wish!

    Coolidge: What might that be?

    Copsy: More of this here Brandy. I’ll tell ya what, Calvin, old
    sock—here’s what you need to do. You need to loosen up a bit. Take off
    that sour face and crack a smile every now and again. Walk around in
    your carpet slippers and bathrobe. For Christ sakes, you look like you
    were born in that suit. Mooch around with some Cat’licks. Saay, them
    Pope-lovers are the boys who know how to have a good time!

Oh, I know, I know–“Keep Kool With Koolidge”. I hear the boys in the
Klan have got a thing for you, in spite of you being a Republican.
Say–is it really true that Harding was part nigger? I’ll bet you know
a lot of secrets that you ain’t tellin’. Like, Teddy Roosevelt was a
drunk. And Honest Abe Lincoln didn’t believe in God.

Coolidge: I don’t know where you hear about these slanders, but they ain’t so.

Copsy: Oh, don’t worry, Prez. I won’t tell a soul. So–tell me–what
does the Honorary Vice President do?

Coolidge: Besides drinking my best brandy and smoking my best cigars?
Not an awful lot, it seems.

[Here the transcription ends. It is said that Copsy was brought back
to the Carnival that afternoon, and, true to his word, said nothing
about the President other than that he was ‘a swell gee’ and ‘all
right for a Rube.’]

But later, Copsy was known to get drunk and harangue anyone who was
willing to listen with what he should have said to Coolidge. “George
Washington cut and run, more times than he ever fought–didn’t he?
Thomas Jefferson had children with his slaves! Grover Cleveland spawned
a bastard child! And Wilson was a helpless dummy for two years, while
his wifey ran the country! I know all about it! And so does Silent
Cal–there’s no fooling HIM!”

 5. CASPER THE FRIENDLY JUNKIE

Look, buddy, I know you want to be friends, but I gotta tell ya, I had a serious drug problem for years and years and it’s a wonder I’m not dead…or maybe I am!

How it first started was, I got pretty heavily into the bennies which is where I got that high-pitched Richard Widmark giggle that drove most grown-ups bats, but after I burned out on Superman pills I discovered the barbs and got really strung out. Spooky had a nasty little junk habit, but back then I was afraid of the needle, and the Ghostly Trio were into reefers, big time, but I didn’t dig what hemp did to them, it made them stupid and mean, so I steered clear. Nope, leapers and downers were my bag until I got too strung out on coke in the 70s and Famous Studios invoked the morals clause and cancelled my contract…I got cleaned up though, thanks to Wendy and a little help from Richie Rich, who, by the way, is my living twin brother who was separated from me at birth. So now I’m back on top and better than ever. OK, so my second movie went straight to video, but hey–it’s been 50 years and I’m still hanging in there, which is more than I can say for poor Lenny….

Do I remember CBGB’s? Yeah, the Trio played there in 74 after I got pretty heavy into DMT which is where I got that thousand-mile stare that spooked the shit out of most normal people, but after I burned out on shrooms and acid I discovered booze and got really heavily into freebasing coke in the 70s and had to do the twelve-step tango with NA after I started getting migraines and nosebleeds all the time. Get this–I was a fucking GHOST with nosebleeds, not very friendly-looking either….

Y’know, y’ashk people t be yer friend and they just SHIT all over ya…I’m shick of it…the Ghostly Trio can go to HELL. They got tricks? Well, I got a few tricksh…some muffuckas need some hurtin an they’re gonna get some hurtin’…did you steal my drink? 

  1. DO YOU REMEMBER?
    Plastic pink flamingoes that poor people put on their scraggly front lawns.
    The news that these items will no longer be manufactured.

    Lawn darts.
    The banning of lawn darts.

    Nodding dogs on the back shelf of cars.
    Replaced by nodding junkies in the back seats of cars.

    Green plastic pickle whistles.
    These were known as “pickle-os”. They hearkened back to a time when
    there actually was a piccolo player in a big band.

    William Frawley.
    Vivian Vance, who despised the drunken Frawley and referred to him off
    camera as “that old man.”

    Stumbo the friendly giant.
    The vaguely European residents of “Tiny Town”, which is the actual
    name of a Denver suburb.

    Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hats.
    The Bob Dylan song of the same name.

    Metracal, the meal in a can.
    Carnation Instant Breakfast, which is still made but no longer
    incessantly advertised.

    “Goodnight Irene.”
    A criminal about to be publicly executed would traditionally sing a
    song of lament. The technical name for this song was a “Goodnight”.

    Margarine sandwiches on Wonder Bread.
    Before we knew that margarine was made with the dreaded trans-fats.

    Tiparillos.
    And the misguided ad campaign, “Should you offer a lady a Tiparillo?”

    Bronzed baby shoes.
    There is now a process whereby you can preserve them in plastic or something.

    Penny Loafers.
    Long since fallen to the lure of “Retro chic.”

    The buck-and-wing.
    Tap dancing is celebrated as an art form and is allegedly no longer
    considered degrading.

    My metal Batman and Robin lunch box that now would be worth a small fortune.
    Well…actually, ir would depend on the condition.

    Supermarket cantaloupes so big that they looked like they were from
    another planet.
    Though when you’re a kid, everything looks far bigger than it actually is.

    Computers so enormous that they took up an entire large air-conditioned vault.
    And people who are fond of pointing out that the same components now
    fit in a unit the size of a calculator. As if this makes us modern!

    The movie soundtrack that would play this peculiar motif that went
    “Rada rada ra, ra ra ra ra, rada rada ra, ra ra, ting” whenever an
    Oriental person appeared.
    I have a Casio SK-1 keyboard purchased in 1989 that has that motif.
    Some cell phones also feature it as a ring tone.

    Danny and the Juniors.
    And the Beach Boys song, “Do You Remember,” that references them as
    nostalgia less than ten years after the fact.

    Feeling uneasy around nuns.
    As though they were about to tell you that your sins have found you out.

    The Boogie Man.
    Now considered a racial slur.

    The man who would drive around our neighborhood in a truck with a
    three-horse merry-go-round mounted on his flat-bed. It cost a nickel
    to ride. The man was a drunk, or so they parents said. They never gave
    me a nickel.
    I saw an empty beer bottle in his truck, so maybe it was true.

    The song, “Donkey dear, the sun is on the mountain.” We sang it in second grade.
    We would make comical chewing motions during the lyric “Eat your
    hay/And let’s be on the way.”

    Pressing all the buttons on the elevator.
    Still fun to do, though only when you’re angry.

    Little girls being afraid that the bottom or top of the escalator
    might suck them in.
    I used to frighten my sister about bridges collapsing as we were
    travelling over them. It’s over 30 years later, and she’s still
    traumatized.

    Not being allowed to have a turtle because “they spread disease.”
    Toxoplasmosis, if I recall correctly. The scare began around 1965. It
    was recently listed. But those turtles can grow to enormous size, so
    it’s probably still not a good idea.

    An Easter chick dyed pink that took a crap on my best friend’s head.
    The chicks seldom lived long enough to be a nuisance. There were
    citydwellers alive in 1960 who actually remembered rural life!

    People named Adolf.
    Or ‘Adolph’. Still don’t know how the meat tenderizer people got away with it.

    The card game “Spoons.”
    Now it’s Texas Hold ’em. Twenty years from now, who knows?

    The expression “Good Lord.”
    Popular in EC comics of the 1950s. Usually accomponaied by “Choke.”

    Mean, brawny, abusive gym coaches.
    I had one named Mr. Maddox. He even haunted me in my dreams. One day I
    woke up and thought I saw his head in the corner, staring at me. But
    it was only a basketball.

    Raymond Burr and his ridiculously fat face.
    Maybe that’s why he sat down so much on the set of Ironsides.

    Sending in boxtops to get “free” prizes.
    Usually made of cheap plastic.

    A Chihuahua so small it could fit in a teacup.
    Yo’ Mama so fat, she leads a hippopotomaus on a leash and it look like
    a chihuahua!

    Organ grinders with a monkey on a chain who would tip his little hat
    when you dropped a coin in his tin cup.
    I guess it never occurred to us to question whether this wasn’t just a
    little bit cruel.

    How people (usually your parents) would say “Listen to me.”
    Though I also saw the expression used in a commercial for a accident lawyer.

    How people (usually older people) would say, “Goodbye and good riddance.”
    With an accent grave on the “rid”.

 

  1. SUPERMAN IS AUTISTIC

I mean, not to make fun of a man with this tragic condition, but doesn’t he have nearly all the symptoms?

 

The big red flag for me is that he never seems to need to sleep. I mean, what’s up with that? 

 

And that monotone voice!

 

Also, he has a restricted behavioral repertoire–I mean, he’s always trying to RESCUE people, as though that’s his JOB. (Holden Caulfield, call your office.)

 

I have also observed in him a marked inability to engage in social play. When is the last time you saw the man laugh? What, in fact, would MAKE him laugh? I can’t even IMAGINE it.

 

OK, and get this–isn’t he ALWAYS attending to irrelevant stimuli? Like, “Excuse me Perry, I, err, there’s an emergency”–and he flies out the window! No explanation, no nuthin’! Creepy!

 

Plus, he engages in physical overactivity, always juggling planets, capping volcanoes, rescuing people from tsunamis and earthquakes, and such-like–and, not satisfied with all that, he also wastes his time subduing angry robots, and even nabbing small-time bank-robbers and stickup artists! I mean, couldn’t BATMAN be doin’ that stuff?

 

And he’s definitely oversensitive to noise, which he actually chalks up to “super-hearing,” as if there’s any such thing! Talk about DENIAL!

 

Plus, he’s impervious to pain, or, at least, he professes to be. Get this–people are SHOOTING at him, with REAL bullets–and he just stands there! I’m surprised he doesn’t hug himself and mumble in a cracked sing-song while he’s at it!

 

These are all symptoms. And all that is just for starters. Need I go on?

 

Clark Kent, if possible, is even worse. He always wears the same clothes, AND he is often impersonated by a ROBOT–and nobody ever even NOTICES!

 

And here’s the real capper–he’s described as “mild mannered” even though he’s a REPORTER–that’s right–A REPORTER–and tell me–when’s the last time YOU ever met a mild-mannered reporter?

 

Listen, if I were a shrink, that right there would convince me–inappropriate affect, no body language to speak of, inability to swim in the social world–and remember, this guy is supposed to be a REPORTER!

 

Hey–don’t take my word for it. A quick look through Silver Age comic titles will reveal many examples of the following:

 

INAPPROPRIATE AFFECT

LACK OF IMPULSE CONTROL

DELUSIONAL BEHAVIOR

FASCINATION WITH SHINY OBJECTS

CLAPPING BEHAVIOR

ODD PLAY

DIFFICULTY MIXING WITH OTHER PEOPLE

RESTRICTED BEHAVIORAL REPERTOIRE

INTO RULES

‘Nuff said!

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