MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
Copyright 2015 Francis DiMenno
1. MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS: THE MODERN WISDOM DYSLEXICON
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.
WAHH: Translation: “Stop having fun and look at my screaming face.”
- NOIR MISFORTUNE COOKIES
- 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.
- 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.
15) Meow? 4. THANKS A LOT, IMAGINARY DEITY–MY UNIVERSE IS RUINED
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.”
- A NATION OF CALIGULAS
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
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?
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:
6. CASEY KASEM’S AMERICAN TOP FATTY
“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
If I Was Your Grill, Friend
Beers in Heaven
Hot Stuffin’ (Can’t Get Enough)
THIS WEEK’S VIDEO:
Fatty’s Song (featuring Boney Basil):
- TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE IN A COMA: THE WISDOM OF THE METAL GODS
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.”
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
Alvin Creepy Brown
Warren K. Os
Vespucci Van Corvo