Copyright 2015 Francis DiMenno

REGGAE. The music of ganja-addled illiterates with filthy hair; a sterling example for our nation’s youth. “Exodus” is the sound of brain cells marching off a cliff.
RELIGIOUS REVIVALS. Circuses for people who are baffled by clowns.
RELIQUARIES. See Disneyland.
SALES TAXES. See Extortion
SCHIZOPHRENICS: Always demand your divided attention.
SCIENCE FICTION: Baseball for people who throw like girls.
SILVERFISH. Eat harmful insects.
SLOW CHILDREN. If a sign says Slow Children, feel sorry for them.
SMOKEY THE BEAR. When he has an idea, does a forest fire go off in his head?
THE SUN. Ain’t so hot.
TAOISM: Gave us alchemy which, of course, we all use daily.
VOLUNTEERS. Busybodies.
WAHH: Translation: “Stop having fun and look at my screaming face.”


  2. 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 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’ll be merciful, and kill you in your sleep.
    633. Every little breeze seems to whisper “revenge”.
    634. 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 rich 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’ll 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 will prove woefully inadequate.
    653. All dames are bad news but yours takes the cake.
    654. Your relatives will haggle over Grandmama’s possessions.
    655. Fear of hereditary insanity will 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 bounced–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 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.


  1. Fifteen things you really shouldn’t say after the judge tells you to swear on the Bible.
    1) No, Judge Nazi!
    2) You can’t handle the truth!
    3) Where I come from a fat pig like you could never be a judge.
    4) Viva la revolution!
    5) I just do what the gun tells me to do.
    6) I see you bear the mark of the beast. Truly, these are the end times.
    7) Do you ever get a boner under that robe, or are you too old to have sex?
    8) I am not subject to your petty laws.
    9) What are you, on the pipe?
    10) Bite my crank, baldy.
    11) You don’t know it yet, but you’re dead.
    12) You are one weird Mama Jamma.
    13) Are you talkin’ to me?
    14) It smells like pork in here.
    Evil won again today, leaving Good only five matches ahead for
    domination of the universe.

    Maan, like, The Lord really sucks, man!

    I used to think Jhwh was schmart, but now I think he’s schtupid.

    I used to think J. Edgar Jehovah was watching me from heaven.

    I used to say ‘Yahweh or the Highway’.

    I used to say, “You’d better show respect to Jehovah’s Fist/ Or he’ll
    burn your messianic ass to a crisp.”

    But, once again, my favorite God has let me down.

    Douche-God has fucked up again.

    I can’t believe I used to pray to that Guy.

    I mean really–what has He done for us, lately?

    Except coast for the last 1,980 years?

    I can’t believe I give $500 a year to that Guy!

    And to think that at one time I ate of His bread and drank of His wine!

    I was even married in His church!

    Well, I’m sick of being a sap.

    I’m going to throw away all of my God memorabilia, including my poster
    of World Championship Lions v. Christians from 70 A.D.

    I guess I should have paid closer attention to the disclaimer on the
    crucifix: “Belief in the Divinity of Christ does not automatically
    entitle user to experience eternal bliss in Heaven.”



The world of standup comedy is a nation of Caligulas.

Comics, like boxers, are all a little crazy.

Writing stand-up is an awful lot like writing poetry, with the added
difficulty that it simply MUST be funny.

There are types and degrees of funny.

The fellow who likes Dane Cook probably wouldn’t understand S.J.
Perelman, and vice versa.

As for the merits of various pretenders to the stand-up throne: my
philosophy is simple:

Different strokes for different folks.

You simply cannot categorically declare that a person is “not funny”.

The mob mind imagines that it speaks for all minds.

The wise man knows that he speaks only for himself.

You can, however, say they are:

1) Way past their sell-by date
2) “Esoteric”
3) Corny
4) Over-exposed
5) Tired

I think a lot of whether we find someone funny has to do with our
overall aesthetic preferences,

No one person can be an infallible judge of humor….

But I think Carlos Mencia’s brownface act is squirm-in-your-seat awful.

Joe Rogan claims it isn’t even his own act.
And there’s proof that Mencia is even stealing material from Bill Cosby:
Now, comics have always been accused of stealing from each other.

And with good reason.

Because they always have.

Back in Vaudeville days, before radio, comics would “share” material.
One comic would use a set’s worth of material on the West Coast, and
another one would use it on the East Coast, and yet another one in the

Milton Berle was called “The Thief of Bad Gags.”

So many people stole Will Jordan’s Ed Sullivan impression that Ed
wouldn’t book him anymore. For his big comeback, Jordan came up with a
Hitler routine; Lenny Bruce is said to have stolen Will Jordan’s
Hitler bit. Then Mel Brooks turned around and stole it from Lenny. You
may remember it; it was called “The Producers”.

In 1984 the writer Mark Evanier (very well-versed in the California
entertainment scene) wrote a comic book story about an (unnamed) comic
whose entire act consisted of material stolen from other comics.

I have no doubt that Mencia steals material. Lots of comics do. But
most of them at least try to put their own twist on it. Seems like
Mencia just basically takes it outright. But that’s not why I dislike
it. It’s because his whole schtick seems fake and flat and forced.

What’s really odd is when two comics come up with the exact same bit
independent of one another. I know from personal experience that it

And the reason that it happens is that there are certain topics that
are just ripe for comedy, and it’s practically inevitable….

So it is remotely possible that Mencia came up with that Mexican wall
bit all by himself.

But after reviewing the evidence it’s pretty likely that no jury in
the land would fail to convict him….

So–who really is the funniest stand-up performer ever?

Bill Hicks?

Debatable but defensible.

It’s a hard call.

If we assume that by stand-up comic you mean the post-WWII period,
then there are a great many contenders.

Shelley Berman, for one. Lenny Bruce, for another. Shecky Green, for a third.

In any art form, there are the craftsmen and the innovators.

And Hicks was an innovator like Lenny Bruce, no doubt about it.

For my money, I’d have to go with Richard Pryor:

“I found my thrill/ Eating Blueberry Hill.”

“We ate the world/We ate the children….”

“I’m in the mood for food/Simply because it feeds me….”

“After Midnight/They’re gonna let us all chow down….”

“Stop, stop, stop all the dancing/Give me time to eat….”

“Philadelphia cheese steak put me knee-high to a man….”

“Come to the Cabaret old chunk….”

“You…you have your own special weight….”

“I am (I am) I am Supperman/And I can eat anything….”

“Sorry that you feel that way/The only thing there is to say:/Every
silver lining’s got a touch of gravy
I will get by/I will survive….”

“Ain’t no mountain high enough/Ain’t no valley low enough/To keep me
away from food….”

“I’m as free as a burp, Babe/And this burp you cannot change…”

“There must be 50 ways to love your liver. Just slap on the grill, Will;
Fry it in the pan, Stan;Slap it on some bread, Fred;
Add a little schmaltz, Walt–Don’t need it fat-free….”

Addicted to Lard
The Gates of Eatin’
A Simple Twist of Fat
I Want Candy (and Cake and Pie and Cookies)
Waddle This Way
Nothing Compares 2 Food
Rolling to New Orleans
Icebox Icebox Baby
I Don’t Like Mondays (I’d Rather Have Sundaes)
I Love Hot Dog Rolls (Put Another Dog on the Broiler, Baby)
I Want to Know What Lard Is
57 Pizzas (and all are gone)
All Those Beers Ago
Massive Pockets (I’m Special)
Can’t Fight This Eating
Do They Know It’s Chowtime?
This Food is So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades
(Just Like) Starting Oven
Keep Your Hams to Yourself
Making Lunch Out of Nothing at All
I’m So Lonesome I Could Diet
Please Please Please Let Me Eat What I Want (Lord knows it would be
the first time)
Some Guys Have All the Lunch
We Didn’t Start The Fries
When We Was Fat
Working My Weight Back to You/Forgive Me, Grill
You Owe Me Some Kind of Lunch
Fatty Don’t You Walk So Fast
Chocophile Rock
If I Was Your Grill, Friend
Beers in Heaven
Hot Stuffin’ (Can’t Get Enough)

Fatty’s Song (featuring Boney Basil):

    By Mike Daly. Photography by Mark Weiss
    (Paper; Plume Books; 2008.)
    Review by Francis DiMenno

    Books of quotations are an especial favorite of mine. Like Marlene Dietrich, “I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.”

    Following the excellent opening essay by Mike Daly (have not all of us, as Americans, had a very similar Arena Rock experience?), we are struck as by a thunderbolt by the very first gem, by none other than Ozzy Osbourne:

    “I got news for you. I spoke to God this morning and he don’t like you.”

    You really have to look all the way back to, like, John Calvin and his doctines of predestination and election for a more telling explication of theology, fate, and poetic justice. (Though it’s not so far removed from the Hee Haw sketch in which four hillbillies moan, in unison, “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all”.  And also compare Warrant’s “Why did God make you so famous when he only spit on me?”)

    On the surface, some of these quotes are exactly the sort of lunkheadedness you might expect from Metal Gods.

    But dig deeper, friend, and you will find unexpected depths in the cawn bosom of these pellucid pools.

    Wrap your mind around this one, by Accept:

    “You shouldn’t kill your brother except if he doesn’t know what’s right.”

    I could literally spend weeks trawling through Mark Booth’s The Secret History of the World, Nicholas Hagger’s The Secret History of the West and Manly Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages, and still not come up with a better encapsulation of The Higher Law.

    Because this is not the stuff they teach you in any school.

    Compare this to Iron Maiden’s somewhat less eloquent variation:

    “If you kill me it’s self-defense, if I kill you then I call it vengeance.”

    At first, I thought that the hitherto little-exploited rhyme of “self-defense” with “vengeance” was perhaps the most startling feature of what merely appeared to be a rather banal expose of solipsistic hypocrisy. I mean, I saw the same kind of thing in Mad Magazine circa 1965: ” When we use them we call them ‘intelligence agents’. When they use them, we holler that they’re sending ‘spies’.”

    But then I thought about it.

    Is this sentence intended to describe a sequence of events?

    If so, then it’s simply brilliant!

    Simply change it from the subjunctive to the present tense and it becomes, “You kill me in self defense so I kill you in revenge.”

    And then it becomes a hall of homicidal mirrors that makes Hamlet look puny!
    Some of these quotes, I’m sorry to say, show an anti-social side to this usually thoughtful and introspective genre that I, as a respectable adult and all-around bon vivant (and certainly no prude) am, nevertheless, duty-bound to deplore. Such as Van Halen’s incendiary,

    “Why behave in public if you’re livin’ on a playground?”

    Irresponsible credos such as these are precisely the sort of thing that compelled Frank Sinatra to snipe that “”Rock ‘n’ roll smells phony and false. It is sung, played, and written by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiteration, and sly, lewd, in plain fact dirty lyrics…it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned deliquent on the face of the earth.”

    Of course, Frank knew an awful lot about cretinous goons, since in his sunset years he seldom travelled anywhere without a few bodyguards who fit that description, but…let’s not go there.

    Some of these metal koans would make splendid first lines to prizewinning genre novels.

    Slaughter has provided the would-be writer of Westerns with a fine opening passage:

    “Ya gotta learn a lesson especially from a man who got a Smith and Wesson.”

    Duly noted!

    And the scribe who’s hell-bent on writing a hard-boiled crime novel could greatly benefit from Ratt’s eloquent cri de coeur:

    “I’m headed for lobotomy, and I’m beggin’ them for more.”

    Note the sophisticated shift from the subjunctive (I AM headED), in the main clause, to the present tense (I AM beggIN’), in the dependent.

    They simply do not teach this technique in creative writing classes (okay, maybe they do), but the best sentence is one which exploits the possibilities of a combination of tenses.

    Which Ratt does beautifully (see also: Nuyts, Jan: “Subjectivity as an evidential dimension in epistemic modal expressions,” Journal of Pragmatics Volume 33, Issue 3, March 2001, Pages 383-400)!

    From a philosophic standpoint some of this book is, admittedly, rather rough sledding, but occasionally there is something that just so simple, and beautiful, and true, that it just about breaks your heart. For example, Electric Angels’ uncharacteristically existential complaint:

    “Some of my friends are dead, some have just stopped living.”

    I’m sure that on January 4, 1960, Camus was working on a novel that opened with exactly those words just before he was killed instantly when the sports car in which he was riding hit a tree. 
    Which reminds me: Where’s my favorite quote? Namely, the following lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell,” an epic poem in and of itself (and based on a true story–which makes it EVEN BETTER!):

    “Whiskey bottles, brand new cars, oak tree you’re in my way.”

    That, perhaps, is being saved for the prequel, dealing with the 1970s.

    In sum, this is not, all appearances to the contrary, a mere novelty book, half funny pictures and half quotations.

    In fact, one can greatly benefit from the timeless wisdom contained in this slender compendium.

    A famous politician has gone on the record as saying, “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations”

    So I’m sure Winston Churchill himself would find this slight tome quite edifying.

    Of course, he died on 24 January 1965, so maybe not.

    8. The Anytown Demimonde
    Cindy Amonita
    Moe Aplomado
    Rasta Applesnail
    Cathy Aura
    Nathan Backswimmer
    Tito Barnowl
    Larry Blackback
    Warren Blackburn
    Rube Blackduck
    Annie Blackhawk
    Laura Bladderwort
    Calipurnia Bluebottle
    Louis Bluegill
    Lita Blewit
    Epworth Blister
    Nita Blusher
    Walter Boatman
    Major Boattail
    King Bolete
    Bettina Bombadier
    Bea Bombus
    Emo Bricktop
    Alvin Creepy Brown
    Milky Brown
    Moe Brownhead
    Tucumcari Bullsnake
    Seth Buttonbrush
    Colin Bobwhite
    Rich Caddisfly
    Specs Caiman
    Trisha Canary
    Lance Caracara
    Nicholas Carrionbeetle
    Dumas Catbird
    Cathy Chanterelle
    Carol Chick
    Lum Coachwhip
    Merlin Columbo
    Tomas Conenose
    Wes Coontail
    Chris Cooter
    Harry Coralbean
    Aphra Cornsnake
    Violet Cort
    Aggie Cottonmouth
    Moloch Cowbird
    Thomas Crabspider
    Tip Cranefly
    Cilla Cybee
    Ada Diamondback
    Agatha Damselfly
    Anna Darnier
    Ziggy Deeth
    Mace Dogtick
    Zena Dove
    Allie Dovekie
    Spiro Duckweed
    Callie Dunlin
    Hallie Eagle
    Aster Earthstar
    Irma Earwig
    Hershel Ensatina
    Isadore Ermite
    Pluto Fawn
    Phony Fennel
    Topher Fiberhead
    Mona Fidelis
    Capo Finch
    Herman Firebrat
    Ossie Fishcrow
    Callie Flicker
    Ted Freetale
    Gato Frigatebird
    Filmer Fulman
    Ann Fulvigula
    Zero Fuzzyfoot
    Autumn Galerina
    Porky Gallinule
    Vinnie Garone
    Cole Gecko
    Ella Germanica
    Phillip Glasslizard
    Polly Gnatcatcher
    Limey Godwit
    Tristram Goldfinch
    Slimy Gomphideous
    Chen Goose
    Quentin Grackle
    Matilda Grayhawk
    Gina Grebe
    Coco Grosbeak
    Chloe Greenspore
    Virginia Grusette
    Cephis Guillemot
    Clem Guttata
    Cora Gypsum
    Rusty Gyrfalcoln
    Carmen Hairstreak
    Seymour Harrier
    Pen Haymaker
    Bluto Hawk
    Harrison Hawk
    King Hawk
    Lulu Hawkowl
    Coral Headtooth
    Crip Hellbender
    Ira Heron
    Larry Herringgull
    Scrabble Hill
    Stout Hill
    Hattie Hognose
    Goldie Horn
    Tabitha Horsefly
    Mike Inkycap
    Woody Insculpta
    Chris Jay
    Ana Jugorum
    Hymie Junco
    Charo Killdeer
    Tyler Kingbird
    Regis Kinglet
    Callie Kingsnake
    Itchy Kite
    Tina Kite
    Red Knotts 
    Earl Koenig
    Waxy Laccaria
    Stutter Lamm
    Knobby Lampshell
    Della Leafhopper
    Angelica Leary
    Charles Leatherleaf
    Elizabeth Leopard
    Caroline Locus
    Cora Loggerhead
    Shrike Loggerhead
    Galvin Loon
    Shaggy Maine
    Ananias Mallard
    Regis Mantis
    Timothy Mapturtle
    Nate Massasauga
    Althea Meadowbrook
    Sue Mealybug
    Pia Melodia
    Kukla Mesquite
    Midge Midden
    Rick Milksnake
    Lampwick Milkweed
    Lysander Milkweed
    Cotton Milktooth
    Kukla Mink
    Comus Mockingbird
    Sally Moorhen
    Eli Morchella
    Ambrose Mosquitofish
    Ulrich Murre
    Rick Muscaria
    Pearl Mussel
    Delia Nighthawk
    Shiva Nuthatch
    Cora Nightheron
    Peggoty Nymph
    Helen Orbsnail
    Ann Orbweaver
    Russ Oriole
    Warren K. Os
    Amy Panther
    Don Papershell
    Lamb Paradise
    Shaggy Parasol
    Hera Parsnip
    Paul Parula
    Zelda Passarina
    Mo Paysalay
    Terry Pene
    Aggie Phoenix
    Christopher Picta
    Puddy Piedbill
    Gomer Pigear
    Cutie Pintail
    Nero Plainbelly
    Squaw Plover
    Bully Pondleech
    Chris Pondslider
    Lynn Pondsnail
    Wino Primrose
    Calvin Puffball
    Gibbon Pumpkinseed
    Myron Race
    Beryl Racer
    Horace Racerunner
    Al Razorbill
    Topsy Redbelt
    Carey Redpoll
    Ace Redrum
    Clark Redswamp
    Burris Reed
    Willard Ridgenose
    Astor Robberfly
    Liz Rota
    Opus Roughleg
    Sundew Roundleaf
    Lester Rove
    Shorty Russula
    Elizabeth Sagebrush
    Mark Salamander
    Bart Sandpiper
    Phoebe Saroyan
    Lionel Sawwhet
    Al Scarletcup
    Hi Scaup
    Midas Seaturtle
    Peter Sharkskin
    Ace Sharpshin
    Peter Sharpshin
    Cooper Shaw
    Xavier Shortpeep
    Clyde Shoveler
    Skip Silverspot
    Lacey Siren
    Doll Sixpot
    Rhino Skimmer
    Celia Skink
    Cathy Skua
    Griselda Slowwit
    Max Slugg
    Indigo Snake
    Pal Snorecroak
    Archie Snowflea
    Nick Softshell
    Armand Sowbug
    Isabella Sowbug
    Pandora Sphinx
    Circe Spittlebug
    Lucy Stagbeetle
    Florence Stranglefig
    Lek Stonefly
    Grunt Spadefoot
    Vi Spadehead
    Spaz Sparrow
    Coral Spindle
    Rosie Spoonbill
    Candy Starnose
    Sean Stormypetrel
    Myra Sweetgale
    Mutt Swann
    Chet Swift
    Disco Teal
    Snappy Terkel
    Clem Terrapin
    Ox Thrasher
    Cindy Tigerbeetle
    Baal Titmouse
    Pippa Towhee
    Ramses Turkeytail
    Shelley Turkle
    Ilsa Underwing
    Vespucci Van Corvo
    Tilda Varia
    Katrinka Veery
    Mutt Velvet
    Victoria Vetch
    Mera Walkingstick
    Ned Waterscorpion
    Matty Waterbug
    Daphne Waterflea
    Sarah Watershrew
    Gerry Waterstride
    Brother Wasp
    Bombastus Waxwing
    Newman Whimbrel
    Pele White
    Zoe Whitecrown
    Rock Whitegown
    Scooter Whitewing
    Mary Wigeon
    Cherry Wilde
    Catherine Willet
    Sally Willow
    Melanie Witchbutter
    Melanie Wood
    Sylvester Woodfrog
    Buster Woodhouse
    Dennis Yellowrump
    Trisha Yellowthroat
    Chet Yellowbreast
    Vesta Yellowjacket



DECEMBER 4, 2015
Copyright 2015 FRANCIS DIMENNO


Count Justin Victor continued to excoriate Prince Faraday. “What kind of self-regarding Lady Fair desires to be seen with this ill-omened toad-eater? This piece of fudge? This lifeless fat pig? Let alone perform with him the types of circus acts better left untold, or at least best left behind a veil of secrecy? She needs must be a run-down doxy of quite mature years, and, to be sure, although she might be happy to have anyone at all, even she would not be overjoyed being paired up with this disgusting blubber-guts. ‘This cheer,’ she would croak, mumbling through withered gums, ‘Ish my beau.’ Haw! And her Beau, on his very best day, is a beat-down Dandy. He wears a cowboy hat, mayhap, to hide his baldness, and otherwise parades around the town all in black, and dresses like a jingle-jangle Macaroni. “This here scorpion clasp on my bolo tie,” says he, “is deadly…just like me.” And this Johnny black as pitch would roam the streets on a moonless night and only vague outlines of his profanely oleaginous form would be discerned. As he marched in the filthy gutter (where he was born and to which he would inevitably return) it would look very much like Arabs stealing away with their tents ‘pon the midnight drear. Accompanied arm-in-arm by a cackling hag. Call Cotton Mather! Is it the black shadow of the most plump Prince Faraday and a broken down town whore–or is it a witchy woman accompanied by her blob-like familiar? Hmm?
“You know me–I’m very tolerant, not only of the world’s religions, but of all the world’s other foibles as well. You don’t see me throwing rotten eggs at corner ranters, or shushing blagging braggarts. No man much past the age of forty, I suppose, has the vitality to be constantly upset over matters which do not directly concern him. But I am outraged by this bloated sluggard who calls himself a ‘performing artist’. His greatest feats, I have discovered, are at the dinner table. His days as swaggering master of the seraglio are long gone, and he contents himself with sitting in the corner of an old lady’s garden, eating her cakes and drinking her Dandelion Wine.He doubtless also takes Laudanum for his toothache, mercury for his venereal diseases, and radium water to combat general sluggishness. I have seen him with any number of hideous hags, both withered and bloated, who keep him well-fed on sweet goods in exchange for certain unmentionable favors. Mine is not to criticize, but these aged Beldames and Hussies think the world of him–until such time as he has leeched all he could from them–then he moves on and the old ladies are left only with sweet sweet memories of a bloated hog who played for them his cracked melodies on an old and out of tune guitar. They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But Prince Faraday, I fear, why, he has no heart–he’s all stomach. Nit! Nit! What do you say to that?
“And what kind of a legacy has he left behind? Other than eagerly gumming down any broken meats and other slop left over from the Free Lunch? ‘I performed on stage with the Swedish Nightingale,’ he’s been heard to murmur, slurring through his broken teeth as he downs a stale bread heel. It’s a lie. An infamous falsehood! Rather than grace the world’s great stages, as he likes to boast, he has instead perpetrated his antic perambulations in every variety of low dive. I will admit he has performed in many venues. He has been seen to ply his trade in every dirty tavern, swarming with the dregs of humanity, some with horrible warts on their noses and awful gin blossoms from an excess of food and drink, and other consumptive wretches as pale as a wraith in the full moon, with fingers like twigs and faces that would scare a googling sprat out of a year’s growth. He has performed all around the countryside, sure. Every doss-house, ale-house, house of ill-repute, bagnio, bordello, cathouse, shithouse, doghouse, roundhouse and madhouse has seen his horrible burly face. 
“Prince Faraday was on the bum for many a year and even the hoboes couldn’t stand his caterwauling. Years and years ago the coppers raided one the jungles where he was flopping. Offered a chance by the local bulls to play his way to freedom, he proved so bad a songwriter that they locked him up and put his guitar in a separate cell. When they searched him, all they found was a pack of greasy playing cards, a two-shot sleeve-sized derringer, and a soiled handkerchief. He was wearing a grimy fat-man’s vest with red checkers, a frayed red velvet jacket, a thousand-mile shirt, a belt fashioned from a rope, a dapper little bow tie, a musty derby hat, a watch fob without a watch, some drain-pipe trousers, and some adorable pointy brown shoes. He had a curly black mustache and full hair of coal-black hair, back in those days. Some of the bums say he was an Irish Jew, whatever that means. Hwat? A stingy drunk?    
“But anyway, back to the ladyfolk. When they see this ice-cream Dandy a-blobbing his way down the street, surely their reaction must be one of equal shock and horror. I never pretended to know how the gentler sex forms an opinion, only I surmise that nowadays only the most wizened hag or crone would have anything to do with this dirigible-sized mooching pest. All the bad things you can say about a scrounger, you can say about Prince Faraday. Not only is he without talent, but he is scathing in his denunciations of those with far more talent than himself. There, I find, is the rub. Twas ever thus, I’m guessing. That’s the real beef I have with him, I suppose. If he were just a faint-hearted loocher as kept his yap shut, he would be tolerable. But, as all fat men do, he has to swagger his stupid opinions about. Makes for a most uncomfortable conversation. Be it sporting events, religion or politics, you can always count on Prince Faraday to have a fatheaded and uninformed opinion. And nothing could possibly be more offense to a man of good sense, who strives to maintain an even temperament, than this blubbery clodpate. I sincerely hope that, from this day forward, he stays far away from me…and mine.”



The National Institute of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)

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824. Worst Christmas Song Ever?

This contender makes the loathsome “Little Drummer Boy” come off like The Eroica. Makes the interminable Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey sound like Noel Coward by comparison. 

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood

Standing right in front of me was
A little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me

He said, “Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me sir, what am I going to do
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
And I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
“Mama’s gonna look so great”

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me what Christmas is all about

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

I want her to look beautiful
If mama meets Jesus tonight


NOVEMBER 27, 2015
Copyright 2015 FRANCIS DIMENNO
Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.–Hermann Goering


Count Justin Victor had a good deal more to say on the topic of Prince Faraday. “So fadeth all the glories, past, present and to come! Once a Lothario–wantonly dispensing the Oil of Angels–the gilded rooster on the top of the steeple–dressed to the nines in his best gin-and-tidy to make the brums all swoon–now a fat wheezing bacon-faced Bogman–a Johnny black hair long ago turned white from fast living and dissipation. It’s wonderful how such creatures of the demimonde manage to live to a ripe old age without becoming along the way notorious police characters. Must be the luck of the Irish, from whom all good things flow–namely, Shillelaghs, brickbats, and knock-down domestic donnybrooks. Not to mention that the befoozled Irish brain is frequently home to the pink elephant and the purple wombat, along with many another creature not often found in your celebrated Zoological Gardens. 
“Let’s be frank and face facts–bacon-fed fools like Prince Faraday are a dime a dozen–all their geese are swans–yet up and down the street they strut and howl as though their shit is made of chocolate ice cream. Sic Transit Gloria! The great fatness must surely do something to their brains. Surely it is the case with Prince Faraday. I have seen him, Yob, a blood and guts alderman a-rootin’ though the trash at a free lunch right here in this very saloon–most likely because of how he doesn’t want to miss one drop of the goodness. Little better is he than a tomato-can vag. He wolfs down the garbage just as fast as Tipsy Smith & Co. can keep it coming. I’ve seen many a Yellof fall plenty low, but this is a new one on me. I’m afraid his misfortunes have got something of the better of him–he is addled–I mean to say, his head has got apartments to let, and I’ll bet they’re all of them full…of food. He beats Akeybo, and Akeybo beats the devil. Nowadays, he’s a bit of a swish and a bit of a Billy Barlow–but he’s all appetite, let me assure you. It’s his outstanding feature–never mind that he tootles on the cornet like a damn amateur and his piano playing never got much beyond “The Celebrated Chop Waltz,”  and he probably wouldn’t have learned even so much as that if he didn’t think that food was somehow involved. I already discussed my learned opinion of his talents on the guitar. I suppose it’s a Good Biz when a Flabbo like Prince Faraday can somehow manage gainful employment, even if he is only fit to lead the blind monkeys. 
“Well, he never was back’ard about blowin’ his own Bazoo. Back in his drinkin’ days, he could slurp down the kill-devil bumbo with the best of them–I guess he would of given George Washington himself the blind staggers before he would stop lapping from the Lovin’ Cup. You could bet your bottom dollar on that much. All too often, in hours wee, he was the victim of a bug-hunter and in all the conflabberation he’d lose his Chicago bankroll to loochers. Or else on the other side, the coppers would get him on a drunk and disorderly, and before you know it he’d be off the see the Candyman–fine: five dollars. Which was just about the sum total of all his worldly goods. Well, I suppose there are those who have done less, with more. He was a real Captain Grand, him–a vain, blustering buffoon. A real Captain Cork–slow to catch the wind of a word. And a real Captain Queernabs, when he was embarassed for funds and had to parade around in a thousand mile shirt and ragged trousers, like some Joe Doakers the One-Oh from Cincinatti. He had a colt’s tooth back in those days–there’s no denyin’ it. But it’s been a long time since old sluice-mouth has come off the tall fence.  
“The Man is every kind of fat. How’s that, Umpire? A bigger tun-tummied, swag-bellied sweet-lipped Tafeno you’re not likely to see in a hound’s age. He’s attracted to all forms of tack and provender like iron filings to a magnet. I suppose you could say he’s as straight as a loon’s leg, given his reputation as a long-stomached slushbucket and a splodger. You can tell by the way he talks and kinder sorter sneaks around on his shack-nasty fatty insteps, so much like a newly-oiled hog that he even has a fat, smell-feast brain, which I suppose must surely come from massaging too many Frankfurter sausages and Hamburger steaks and other toothsome delicacies down his inscrutably plump and insatiable maw. He’s a slow-back and a slug, alongside of all his other sterling qualities.Well, good healthy food on the Vaud and Girl Show Burly-Q circuit is hard to come by, but still–the man was a born cake-eater since day one, and his once-boyish figure, I’m afraid, simply couldn’t stand the gaff. Nowadays, whenever he lumbers onto a stage corner to wrangle queer sounds from his music box, management has a surgeon standing by, just in case the fat hog blows a gasket while playing one of his shapeless so-called ‘tunes’. 
“All the same, his vast appetite ensures one thing: that he was never destined to live on stone soup and wind pudding. No, he’s a real scrimshanker and a scroof who deserves to be tipped the scroby for breakfast and escorted with a pair of iron darbies on his wrists to Scragg’s hotel, where may he live ever after on hardscrabble, and be as rusty-fusty-dusty as it pleases him. God’s Wounds! When I think of the times he would get up on the boards and moan like a preacher-man, divine patter and all–to be reduced to picking scrapings and leavings from an offal-bin–for that is how I have found the Nosrap, as of late–a Mizzer who has to get by as a Miss Nancy, a mere fop, and who trades on the faded glories of yesteryear, all to garner a scran. He asks me for doss-house money, and I ups and says to him, Ye Great Big Gooby! Do you see any green in my eye? I should snicker. Prince Faraday! The Great Mr. Thingumbob, the Josser! Reduced to this! O! To be Mighty in Gath! Haw haw haw! O, Jiminy Figs!” 
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NOVEMBER 20, 2015
Copyright 2015 FRANCIS DIMENNO

Night after night I would go to the Seven Stars Saloon to hear Count Victor Justin hold forth. One night in particular, the old man was in fine form. there was a decided sparkle in his eye as he recounted tales of long ago; particularly his run-in with certain police characters. 

“When I was in stir overnight on a bogus bunko rap, I ran into this nutty Yellof–some kind of crazy, dirty-faced self-styled musician–though I swan that if’n this kook was a musician then I was a heifer–he called himself ‘Prince Faraday,’ though his real name is probably lost to history, and a good thing too, says I. Anyhow, there I was, in the holding cell, and there he was, taking every opportunity to upstage me, even though he had nothing to say, because you got the distinct impression right away that he wasn’t very bright, like you could ask him how’s the weather and he would say ‘Duh’ and have to think about it, and even then he’d wait to hear what someone else had to say before he ventured an opinion. Oh well. It takes all kinds. Anyway, this ‘Prince Faraday’ Yellof was more than a mite unfriendly. Maybe the Yob was jealous of my superior eddication and vocabulary or something; it’s been known to happen, even among the dregs of society. Or maybe he was just plain ornery. Then again, I been around some, so maybe he imagined that at some time or another I had slighted him somehow, or otherwise done him an injury. Who knows?
“Now, nobody has more respect for the artist than I do. The Yellof who is a dab hand at a sketch or a portrait, or can sculpt in stone–that’s hard work, and you won’t hear me say a word agin any artist as can knock out a pastoral scene or maybe a nice little picture of a three-masted schooner–even a still-life can be a beauty to behold, just in case you mistook me for one of them vulgarians who only like a daub if’n there’s a naked si-reen portrayed therein. The kind of thing you’d see at some of the fancier drinking establishments out west, f’r instance. The man who can write a newspaper article is also A-OK with me; the newsboys tend to be some of the most wised-up characters you’re likely to find, outside of carnies and policemen. It’s the nature of their job. And that Charles Dickens–boy, was he a hoot. A fella who can spin a corking yarn like that is always welcome in my camp. Writing is a bit of a con game too, when you come right down to it. You’re convincing people to think and feel and using the power of words alone. A good writer don’t do half as much harm as a shyster lawyer, and he’s way cheaper, too. I might as well come right out and say it. I have more than a few choice words to say about so-called attorneys, and the corrupt police, and the fat-assed judges who supposedly sit above it all. They’re all a part of the big con game called life. I bear them no ill will, but I don’t have a lot of respect for them. The man who can create something beautiful out of thin air–he’s the one I’ll pay my hard-earned ooftish to see. 
“But when it comes to music makers, there’s where I reserve my highest compliments, and rightfully so. Like I say, I’ve been around the world; seen the Opera in Rome and the grass skirted maidens of Polynesia dancing to hula music, and even a fiddlin’ Irish rogue perform a jig on board a Chinese Pirate Junk. But I never heard guitar playin’ like I heerd from this ‘Prince Faraday’ character. Me and him washed up at the Carny, years later. 
“I will say this much about him: his out-of-tune guitar playin’ was egregiously bad–it was the sound of two cats in heat fuckin’ behind a shed back of a whitewashed picket fence by the light of the silvery moon. And his singing reminded me of the time I saw a moronic circus clown drunkenly puking into a flaming trash-barrel. You’d think that this dirty Johnny black as melted midnight from the coal dust and filth of the road would have better things to do than slander his betters. Like, maybe improve his guitar technique. No; he took the easy way out under any circumstance. Hack it out in the woodshed, that should of been his motto. His big gimmick was to insert vulgar ‘novelty’ lyrics of his own devising into the compositions of songwriters far more original and talented than hisself, which wasn’t saying much, because as far as I could see he had no real aptitude at all for what he was doing. Still, he had a cadre of slavering acolytes. You can always judge an artists by the quality of his followers. Prince Faraday had all the fat girls on his side. That’s OK, you know, if you like ’em beefy. Faraday was a little on the plump side himself, even in his salad days. 
“Faraday was what you might of called a cast-off has-been; only really, he was much closer to being a perfect never-wuzzer. You warn’t going to read about him in any reference book. His guitar sounded like he had busted a hand and was raking a petrified monkey’s paw acrost the strings. If so, it’s too bad the monkey’s paw wasn’t a magic one, for he could of used that magic artifact to grant him three wishes: namely, brains, courage, and a human heart and soul. I can still hear the echoing chords of his tin pan claptrap reverberating in my unhappy ears–all his performing skill, such as it was, was concentrated in whining and puling like a castrated hog. I would say may the devil take him, only Heaven won’t have him, and Hell can’t hold him. So maybe he can roam the halls of limbo and frighten unbaptized babies and heathen scholars for all eternity.”  




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NOVEMBER 13, 2015
Copyright 2015 FRANCIS DIMENNO

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. –Aristotle


“Nowadays, a good henchman is hard to find, Yob. You know what I blame? The schools. Time was when you’d get pounded into you the whole round of readin’, writin’, and cipherin’ to the rule of three. Back then, they hired real men to conduct high school–not some little slip of a girlie. The Master had a strong whip hand, and he kept it well primed. Schoolteachers of yore weren’t afraid of basting a whippersnapper with a stout hickory rod when they grew snippy and peckish. Sure, it left some Yobs with a lifelong hatred of schoolin’, but it made an impression on the many other Yobs who pissed their pants every time the teacher drew near with his unforgiving stare. Why, there was some shavers who could read Latin and Greek by the time they were eight. That’s how terrified they were! Back in the good old days, the Teacher warn’t no milksop. He would beat some good old fashioned horse sense into a Yob, and there weren’t no two words about it. 
“Not no more. All that classical learnin’ has gone the way of the passenger pigeon. Nowadays, not only do people not know how to spell or write, but they can’t even talk correctly. That is one reason why my grifting game is taking a beating–nowadays there just aren’t enough confederates around who can keep up a smooth line of patter and engage an educated gent in conversation. That’s what’s all important, you know. A good grifter should be able to talk politics and religion with the menfolk, and fine arts and literature with the ladyfolk. And I’m not forgettin’ sports and newspaper funnies for the more simpleminded, and the kiddies. 
“Kids these days are rotten–readin’ dime novels and comic papers and newspaper scandal sheets and other such lurid trash, instead of attending to their studies. If they spend less time smacking a ball around and more time cracking those books, they may yet amount to something–but don’t hold your breath. I am disgustipated by those fools. It’s a wonder that any of my dodges whatsoever ever come to fruition, when you consider how inattentive and lackadaisical most of the green yellofs I have to work with really are. The fools are not only wet behind the ears, and can barely express themselves in plain English, but they don’t even know what a whole lot of nines are. In my day it was different. You had better of learned your lesson for that day, or else it would go hard for your knuckles. And that was if you were lucky. Most schoolteachers weren’t a bit averse to dustin’ your britches for you. Now, some milksops say that this is the wrong way to teach students their letters, but I say that I came through it all right and it didn’t warp my outlook any. 
“No, I fancy that a good grifter has to know just a little bit about a great many things, as well as a lot about quite a few things. But where do you learn how to feed this spirit of curiosity? Some say the schools are just factories for turning out little industrial soldiers, but I say that any man who is well grounded in the basics can learn to do just about anything. There’s plenty of fools out there who are good at one or two things, but who fly all to pieces when presented with an unexpected challenge. Learning to deal with situations on the fly is the hallmark of any good education. People may resent you because you always have an answer for everything, but that’s their tough luck that they were stupid and inattentive scholars and didn’t pay attention to their Masters. You have to have an aptitude for this game, sure, and good people sense is the number one thing you got to have, but you will be forever held back in my bailiwick if you don’t have good grift sense and you are not with it and for it. And where else do you learn how to fool the world but in the classroom?  
“Because that’s what a good teacher does–he fools the world. Imagine getting paid to lecture little Yellofs, like a punk. Yet schoolmasters manage to do it. They’re like preachers, for the most part–necessary and useful, but parasites all the same. I’ll tell you how I came to this conclusion. I taught school myself, for a couple of months. It’s easy. You talk to the wee ones like you would talk to a disgraceful hound. It’s a certain bloodthirsty tone of voice that you can easily learn. Then, all you have to do is read from a book. You already have all the answers, and you ask the little Yellofs to recite their lessons by rote. That’s basically all there is to it. Ahh, yes, teachers are con men, just like so many of us. Show me a teacher who isn’t, and I’ll show you a schoolmaster who ought to be wearing a dunce cap his own self. Only difference being, grifters have to work hard to drive the suckers into their nets, while a schoolmaster has himself a ready-made audience. Furthermore, a good schoolmaster can set one half of his class against the other half, so that each half polices the other.  And he’s a man’s man, too–he’s good at sports, and he has intelligent opinions about everything. He’s not just some drone, or some fussy old woman, like so many of the teachers today. Problem is, it’s hard to hire the kind of man you want and pay him the sort of mingy salary that most schoolteachers rake in. Fact is, in this country, almost everything that has something to do with books and learning has the stink of premature failure. It’s different over in Europe, where an eddicated man is called Doctor and treated with all sorts of pomp. Hereabouts, the modern day pedagogue is all too often some washed-up drunk. That’s why the students are no good anymore. Not like back in my day.” 


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