THE INFORMATION #913
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. — G. K. Chesterton
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART NINETY-FIVE: KINGDOM COME
“Yob, let me tell you this,” said Count Victor Justin. “The way to becoming legitimately wealthy is long and slow–agonizingly slow. If you can somehow lay down a pile of dosh by betting on a sure thing, and stealing a march on the competition, then by all means do so–but also know well that a sure thing comes along maybe once or twice in a lifetime. Unless you managed to gaff the wager beforehand. That certainly isn’t out of the question. Only, don’t get caught. You will take a beating, at the very least, if your patsy finds out you’re working a set of loaded dice or playing with marked cards.”
We strolled past Feist’s Cigar Store, where the Count was wont to hand out cheap stogies to his cronies and to hob-nob with the movers of shakers of Blowtown in particular and all of Noxtown in general. It was a rather chilly autumn night, and the store was closed and shuttered. “Must have been a death in the family,” he muttered. “Old Man Feist almost never closes his shop this early. Ah well,” he said. “This will give us a chance to continue with our evening constitutional, where I will continue to pour sage advice in your ear, and you will do that job you do so well, which is to listen. What have you been doing with that money I’ve been giving you, Cadger Tandy?”
I told him that I was saving it in my mattress, in the area under my pillow.
“Good, good!” he boomed. “Banks are no good. You never know when a Panic will come along and sweep away all your hard-earned dosh. But listen, Yob–hiding your dough in the mattress is a sucker play. You ought to find a better hiding place. Someplace that’s not even in the room. A chink in a rooftop chimney is good. A loose floorboard in the cellar. Someplace that’s not too easy to get at. So–what do you intend to do with that money, once you’ve saved up a tidy pile? Are you planning to loan it out at interest?”
I confessed that such a thought had never occurred to me.
“Well, that’s just as well. You ought to consult with me before you do anything with that pile. Now, make no mistake about it–the money is yours; I won’t ever ask for it back. But I would be interested to see if you have any ideas about how best to spend it. You’re not planning to make an investment in the stock market, are you?”
I confessed that I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to even go about doing such a thing.
“Again, I suppose you’ve dodged a bullet there. Let me put you wise, Yob: The stock market, and investments of that sort, constitute plain old gambling, pure and simple. It’s no better than betting on the ponies. Especially for the little guy. Better you should shovel your ooftish down an endless rathole. This is not to say that if you know what you’re doing, you can’t make a killing. But let me pull your coat to another fact–in this life, very, very few people actually know what they’re doing. A great many suckers wouldn’t be able to pour piss out of their boots if the instructions was written on the heel. They wouldn’t hollar Sooie if the hogs was eatin’ them. They don’t even know what a whole lot of nines are.
“No, Yob–if you’re going to work to get rich quick, it very likely ain’t a-gonna happen. The suckers in hell all want ice water–but they ain’t a-gonna get it. Your best bet is to hew to the straight and narrow. Get an inside job; one that requires you to hustle. Work hard; impress the Boss, anticipate his needs, cater to them. The old brown nose will do the trick. It’s transparent; most men who get to be the Boss aren’t totally gullible fools; he’ll know what your doing. But he’ll like it, all the same. Who wouldn’t? Even a sick dog will swish his tail when you pat him on the head. Your Boss may look like a lofty figure to you, but he’s not any kind of a God–he’s human; maybe even more human than you. After all, what are you to him? Just another punk. Your wants and needs are absurd to him. All he cares about is squeezing the very last drop of work out of you. That’s the game, and the better you play it, the faster you’ll advance. But know this–in your drive to occupy the boardrooms of power you may never get any further than the vestibule. Not unless you have some kind of an in. Like, for instance, you marry the boss’ daughter. A match made in heaven, but lived in hell. It’s more than likely to be the case. Better you should woo the Boss’s secretary, in a harmless sort of boyish way. Nine times out of ten, she’s the real power behind the throne. Yes–that withered old crone with her hair in a bun could very likely run the whole joint quite well if the Boss were permanently or otherwise indisposed. He knows it; she knows he knows it; and you’d better know it too, if you know what’s good for you. Little gifts of chocolate and flowers go a long way–and don’t be cheap about it–don’t you be fishing those flowers out of a dustbin, Yob–women everywhere have a sixth sense when it comes to used goods of that stripe.
“Anyhoo, before long, that ugly old Secretary will have your Boss convinced that you can do no wrong, and that your shit tastes like chocolate ice cream. And then–you’ll have an in.
“Now, if all this sounds like too much work–and, believe me, it is–and if you’ve therefore come around to deviating from the straight and narrow path, then the best way to make a lot of money is to get your meathooks into some kind of office job where a lot of money is being handed back and forth, and then worm your way into a position of trust. Who knows but that the boss won’t carelessly leave the safe open someday, and leave you in a position to abscond with twenty thousand smackeroos? Then you can move to sunny Mexico, and live like a goddamn King. After about thirty years, you can come back to live stateside, under an alias, for by then everyone who matters will have forgotten all about it.
“Mind you, I’m not saying that you should actually do such a thing. But I am trying to plant a seed in the impressionable garden that is your mind–that such a path to riches is not beyond the realm of possibility. Of course, it is all the better if you could somehow contrive to pin the robbery on some other chump. Trouble is, that never is, and never can be, a sure thing. Unless you get yourself a good shyster lawyer. And arrange to bribe the jury. Or better still–the judge.”
THE FOUR BEST SONGS FROM “EMITT RHODES”
“Some old hippie working at a small record store in PA (early 80s) called this McCartney’s best solo album. Pretty funny.”
“Live till You Die”
“You Should Be Ashamed”
“Fresh as a Daisy”
THE AMERICAN DREAM
WHAT TO MAKE OF T.S. ELIOT?
WORST FACEBOOK QUOTES
The 15 oddest brand-licensed comics
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
KURT VONNEGUT IN 1991: BOB DYLAN IS THE WORST POET ALIVE
6* DAILY UTILITY
DAD TURNS HIS SIX-YEAR OLD SON’S DRAWINGS INTO REALITY
MAD MAGAZINE: If kids designed their own Xmas toys
This classic entry is from the January 1963 issue of MAD Magazine. Pure comedy gold.
Fan art fails
CULT OF THE CLOWN
BY KIM DEITCH (1972)
INVENTIONS WHICH DIDN’T CATCH ON
EAT STATIC’S ALIEN DOLLAR BILL HOAX
OUR BOARDING HOUSE DAILIES 1934
A guy like me who dug the 1927 gathering of OUR BOARDING HOUSE dailies reviewed ages back would definitely be game for any other sampling of prime Gene Ahern comicdom that may be available. Thus these ’34 comics come in mighty handily what with more of that same ol’ cornballus yet sophisto screwball humor that might have stymied a suburban slob kiddo like me age ten, but nowadays come off like the sorta comic reading manna I’ve been hunkerin’ for these past few odd decades.
Some pretty tasty storylines here including one where Major Hoople actually has a remarkably surprising streak of gambling luck much to the surprise of boarders Mack, Clyde and Buster, not to mention his fortunes with a supposedly bunk goldmine that actually hits big. Of course a li’l bitta bad luck does reign into the otherwise boom-filled world of Hoople when his lookalike ‘cept for the bald head brother Jake comes to town for one of his yearly mooch offs and tries suing the Major because Jake gave him the deed to the mine as collateral and wants what he thinks’ a’ comin’ to him. And even the Major comes out on top on that ‘un!
There’s also a story brewin’ where Hoople, on the advice of his odd jobs worker Jason, invests in a racehorse the Major names Dreadnaught not to mention the usual tall tales and even a few where nephew Alvin takes his violin lessons to new atonal heights equal to Jack Benny’s workouts with Professor LeBlanc! Of course it’s all a real sight to behold from the gag-infused dialogue to the old thin-pen style that looks as if each and every drawing took a good number of hours to complete what with the detail and other particulars just not seen these days. And although I’ve read a good portion of the 1935 strips via other collections and various clippings lying around well…just can’t wait to read ’em again but you’ll have to wait a few weeks to read what I think about THOSE…–Christopher Stigliano
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
15 MASTERS OF ONSTAGE BANTER
*11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE 2. SATTOUF. ****1/2
BADASS. THOMPSON. ***1/2
BATGIRL 3. MINDFIELD. ***1/2
BATMAN 8. BLOOM. ***1/2
THE BIRTH OF KITARO. MIZUKI. ***1/2
BLACK PANTHER 1. A NATION UNDER OUR FEET. ***1/2
BUSTED. RUDERMAN & LAKER. ***1/2
CAPTAIN MARVEL 1. RISE OF ALPHA FLIGHT. ***
THE CRACKLE OF THE FROST. MATTOTI & ZENTNER. ****1/2
CYBORG 1. UNPLUGGED. ***
DC COMICS/DARK HORSE COMICS. ALIENS. ***
DIARY OF A TOKYO TEEN. INZER. ***
DOG WHISTLES, WALK-BACKS & WASHINGTON HANDSHAKES. MCCUTCHEON & MARK. ****
EIGHTBALL. VOL. 1 &2. CLOWES. ****1/2
ELSEWORLDS: BATMAN. VOL. 1. **1/2
THE FLASH 7. SAVAGE WORLD. ***1/2
FLOATING CITY. VENKATESH. ***1/2
THE GOLDEN COMPASS: A GRAPHIC NOVEL 2. ****
THE GREATEST OF MARLYS. BARRY. ****
GREEN LANTERN CORPS. THE LOST ARMY. ***
HALF-EARTH. WILSON. ****1/2
MACHINE MAN. KIRBY & DITKO. ***
MARIE ANTOINETTE, PHANTOM QUEEN. GOETZINGER. ****
MEGAHEX. HANSELMANN. ****
MIGHTY THOR 1. THUNDER IN HER VEINS. AARON. ***1/2
MOON COP. GAULD. ****
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR 1. bff. ***
OUT OF OUR HEADS. CASE. ***1/2
PLUTONA 1. LEMIRE. ***1/2
PRIVATE BEACH. HAHN. ***
QUIET. CAIN. ****
THE RISE AND FALL OF AXIOM. WAID. ****
ROLLING BLACKOUTS. GLIDDEN. ****
SPIDER-MAN. FLYING BLIND. ***1/2
STARVE 2. WOOD. ***1/2
STORMWATCH 1. THE DARK SIDE. ***1/2
UNCANNY AVENGERS UNITY 1. LOST FUTURE. ***1/2
UNKIND WORDS. ALLEN. ****
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
- THE DAY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN RAN OUT OF STORIES TO TELL
“Good evening, good evening. I remember standing on the corner of Kingsly Ave. and I was just 17 years old and man it was hot, and there were these girls lying out on the beach. So fine man, and you know just out of my reach. We used to call them Pretty Flamingos, you know. Like one of the guys would come by and I’d say hey Clarence, check out those Pretty flamingos and he’d say something like “Shut the fuck up Bruce.” HeHehe, but that was Clarence man, HEheeheHE. Anyway, my old man wouldn’t let me have sugar as a kid and he’d always be yelling at me, “Bruce” he’d say “I better not catch you with any sugar.” You know? He’d be down in the kitchen eating his baloney and cheese on white bread and I hear him yelling up to me, “You better not be eating any god damn sugar up there.”
And there was this old place back then, that we used to play at called the Gaslight, it ain’t around no more, and man we’d be there ’till four in the morning some nights you know, just playing. They had this Mr. Softy soft serve ice cream in the back. Man, sometimes it be all I’d think about. Mr. Softy man, I just couldn’t get him out of my head. Both flavors man, vanilla and chocolate. And there was this bin with that stuff you put on top, Jimmy’s. We used to call them Jimmy’s but I’ve heard them called sprinkles too. Rainbow Jimmy’s man HeHeehe. And I’d be playing up on stage with the guys but I’d be thinking, you know, maybe I could just sneak a cone you know, the old man wouldn’t find out. Or maybe, just maybe, I could stick my head under the tap and Steve could pull the handle, I wouldn’t even need a cone.
But I never did it man, I never did it. I always thought the old man would jump out from somewhere, you know, no matter how late it was. I kept thinking he’d just pop out of nowhere and stab me in the neck with a Spork and yell “I told you no god damn sugar, kid.” You know what a spork is Clarence? It’s like spoon and a fork together in one utensil; it’s good for eating chili and stew, HeeHeehe.
So around this time we started making a little money with the band and I got my first car, a ’57 Chevy, thirty miles highway, and a Hurst on the floor. It had Flames on it and everything, man it was hot! Twenty five city. And once I got that thing going man I just drove and drove you know, I didn’t care where I was going. Days went by, I’m telling you, I just drove, didn’t stop for anything, not gas or food, I didn’t even stop for the bathroom, I just went in the car. HeeheHee. So I found myself at this little ice cream place in the middle of nowhere. And I just knew the old man couldn’t find me out there. And I went up to the lady at the stand and I said ‘I’d like a Mr. Softy’ and she said to me, she said ‘son, the machine’s broke.’ This song’s called The River.”