MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
Copyright 2018 Francis DiMenno
1. NOIR MISFORTUNE COOKIES: SECOND SERIES
501. Tedious one,even your stalker grows tired of you.
502. Obese one, she thinks of you only as her Fat Chance.
503. You are powerful only in your dreams. Dream on.
504. Coward, even among outlaws you are an object of scorn.
505. Dogs howl, cats hiss, and snakes flee your very approach.
506. Beggar-man, move on. The rick want you out of the way.
507. Ominous crows will circle your pitiful shack, superstitious one.
508. Cheapskate, an untipped waitress will betray you to the Bulls.
509. Your wife has memorized the Kama Sutra; not for your benefit.
510. Where you’re going you’ll never get to pet the rabbits, oafish one.
511. You will die in a pup tent clutching a bottle of cheap muscatel.
512. Sorry, but it wasn’t a ‘strongly dislike’ crime. It was a HATE crime.
513. You’re the town drunk. And it’s a really big town.
514. You spoke the Big man’s name and now you will burn for it.
515. They’ll stop hounding you when you pay them back, which is never.
516. It’s over when the Big man says it’s over, and not a minute before.
517. Look both ways before crossing–and they’ll still run you down.
518. Those minks you clouted belong to the wife of a made man.
519. Your weakness and fear make you distrusted by all.
520. Your cowardice is like a cloud which fills every room.
521. They laugh at you, for you are digging your own grave. Literally.
522. Half the world lives in misery, and yet you have no shame.
523. There’s nothing left for you to do but cry. Like a fat little girl.
524. You are nothing but trouble that nobody wants or needs.
525. You’re going to be dead soon, and dead soon.
526. Romeo, you wear your heart on your sleeve and it falls off.
527. The Big Boss knows you come to work late and leave early.
528. Your inner demons are bad. Your outer demons are far worse.
529. Your vain attempts to cling to your fleeting youth deceive nobody.
530. A bad actor dies a thousand deaths–and yet lives.
531. Your attempts at finding consolation will lead to double woe.
532. You are cruel. But the Big man is crueler by far.
533. Daffy one, no man of reputation regards you as strong.
534. Dotard, be still. Your days of feeble glory are long gone.
535. Why do you persist in yammering, garrulous one? Nobody is listening.
536. Even common lushes despise your drunken babbling.
537. Your life is a broken fortune cookie, unread and left to rot.
538. Throw away your glasses. there is nothing more for you to see in this world.
539. People do not understand you, true; for they are not fluent in Psycho.
540. They say you should look into your heart. But now…you have no heart.
541. Only one man can help you. God. And he’s not home.
542. She’ll never call you. Her boyfriend broke her fingers.
543. You have quite a history. But you have no future.
544. You are so crazy that you drove your psychiatrist insane.
545. The young hate your stories; the old have already heard them all.
546. You call yourself a boulevardier–but really, you are a pervert.
547. You will receive a twenty-one gun salute–aimed at you.
548. The scene of the crime is anywhere that you are.
549. You are not only broke–you have been broken.
550. It’s a sick world–but not as sick as you.
2. 13 POSSIBLE OPENING LINES FOR CHRISTIAN FICTION
It was a dark and Jesus Night.
It was the best of Messiahs; It was the worst of Messiahs.
A lot of you don’t know me, ‘less you read a book called The New
Testament by a Mr. Mark the Apostle….
When I was a young man, my Father said to me that I should not judge
others, for they have not had the advantages that I have had….
Jesus woke up in the garden to the sound of the cock crowing thrice.
“I suppose I should tell you about my lousy childhood at the right
hand of the Father and all that other David Copperfield Crap…”
“That, he thought with satisfaction, is one small step for man and one
large step for the Messiah…. ”
Jesus Christ and I sat at the table for a half-hour before he finally
went for the bill.
Jesus Christ’s socks were beginning to stink up the whole apartment.
After his sixth Gatorade-and-vodka, Jesus Christ puked all over my new
girlfriend’s tank top.
“There ain’t no atheists in foxholes!” shouted Jesus Christ as he
valiantly threw his last grenade at the advancing Japs.
Jesus Christ died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don¹t know.
Jesus Christ awoke one morning to find that he had been changed into a
[A tip of the Hatlo Hat to RMS for numbers 8-13.]
3. OH FAB I’M GLAD THERE’S LEMON-FRESHENED BORAX IN YOU: THE MOVIE
Opening shot: explosion. A shack in the Utah desert.
Establishing shot: 1966. Docu footage unspools: Viet War, race riots, LBJ with head in hands. Credits roll.
Long tracking shot of California farmland. Another explosion, this one large enough to level a city block. Lemon groves are devastated by wildfires.
Cut to: Office penthouse. The silhouetted figure of a man is seen and heard shouting into two telephones. Camera reveals he is XAVIER BRAND, a creepy white-haired industrialist with a withered face and a rather louche black mustache who, for diabolical reasons of his own, is trying to corner the world’s supply of lemons and Borax. Distinguishing feature: His right index finger is actually a nail file. He compulsively grooms his nails the whole time he is talking on the phones. His SECRETARY grooms his toenails.
Cut to: Exterior of office. A man with a rope and grappling hook is climbing hand over hand up the side of the building. He is FRANZ NEUMANN, sworn foe of sinister cabals. A grinning crewcut blonde giant. Distinguishing feature: His lemon-yellow eyepatch. He climbs the rope with agility and grace. He is obviously a highly-skilled gymnast.
But will he make it up the side of the building? I think not. BRAND’s sinister henchman–a midget wearing a bowler hat–undoes the hook from the cornice of the building. NEUMANN falls. An enormous American eagle swoops in and catches him. NEUMANN is whisked off to the mountaintop fortress of none other than…
UNCLE SAM, who tells NEUMANN that HE MUST NOT FAIL and provides him with advanced weaponry and two accomplices: A parrot who can mimic anybody’s voice and a cigar-smoking chimp who is an explosives expert.
A series of complications ensues, but, ultimately, Xavier Brand is foiled, Neumann gets the secretary, and a series of Fab detergent posters plastered about Futuropolis mutely testify to the fact that the surfectent now does indeed feature the miraculous novelty of “Lemon-Freshened Borax”.
The Friends of Extinction–in conjunction with our Wymyn’s group The
Kindly Ones, and our Children’s Auxiliary, The Sunshine and Lollipops
Guild–is a Rainbow Tribal Gathering where People Who Need People Are
the Luckiest People In the World. (Crabs, Grouches, Gloomy Gusses,
Pesssimists, Naysayers, Channel-Turners, Nut-Cutters and Lardasses
need not apply.)
Madport may be just a picture-postcard Hamlet blown up to poster-size;
a pint-sized burg with a big-league attitude, but that don’t mean the
Jukes and the Kallikaks can’t all sit down at the same table and maul
the flatware and gum their inedible vittles and snap at that bottle of
corn until they drink themselves into a slack-jawed stupor as they
stare vacantly at the hole in infinity and attempt in vain to twiddle
their non-opposable thumbs as burning joints fall from their nerveless
What I mean to say, Pard, is Come On Down, Pilgrim, and Join the
Party–We Got a Lot of Friendly People and We Hope You’ll Like Every
Just because some of us are Negroes and some of us are Oafs and some
of us are fourth-generation Greasers with a mad on against the world,
don’t mean we can’t all get together and grope at each other’s
fundaments and make real-friendly-like with that freckle-faced
redheaded Pixie Sprite who’s, like, really “into” the Ecology and
wants all of us to like, stop killin’ the whales.
Likety-like, herez what we believe:
Play Well With Others!
Food, Not Bums!
Can’t We All Get Along?
Listen: the FOE is all about integrity. Once you can market that,
you’ve got it made, Chief.
The temporarily permanent, non-spatial, everywhere-is-noplace HQ of
the Friends of Extinction is located in the deepest part of the woods
on the edge of Holly Park, where the flowers are in bloom. Take the
Indian trail to the cardboard box, bear right at the old mattress,
follow the blue blazes until you reach the burned-out wooden shack
right upside of Hobo’s Ridge, and You Are There. (Nota bene: Though
this be our special hidey-place where we used to go to drink Dad’s
Bourbon, that don’t mean we ain’t willing to meet at your house, when
YOUR Dad is away, and drink HIS bourbon!)
The Friends of Extinction is a zoovie non-juried space wherein brothaz
and sistaz and all our udder peeps can meet and and greet and be
supportive of one another and get baked and play drums on old coffee
cans and recite way-out poems and tell non-offensive earth-friendly
jokes and all like that. Like, get this:
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: International Bankers!
Haw Haw Haw! The Friends of Extinction is fixin’ to build us a network
of like-minded original thinkers whose home away from home is
everywhere and nowhere. For the Present will someday be the Past and
the Future Now is truly merely the past of the Eternal WOW.
On the lam of God? Running away from your obligatos? Shake the pebble
from your moccasin and set a spell. Summer times we like to meet by
the old stone windmill down by the breakwater in Smug harbor; in the
Fall our HQ is the sub-basement of the deserted Pumping Station in
Cruikshank; when old man Winter comes we meet at the Peaceful
Coexistence Coffee Shop just over the border from Nob Hill, and in the
Spring is when we observe the mystikal rite of St. Patrick & Beltane,
which is why we meet in the thickets of Holly Park like our patron
forebears who believed in gnomes, kobalds, and outdoor fucking–not
necessarily in that order.
We join together with udder Peeps from all over the world, whenever
they want to come and mooch off our one-world hospitality because a
smile is just a turned-on frown. Also, it’s always good for a High
Plains Drifter to have friends in High places, if you get my drift,
and et cetera.
Hey–listen–you can have your own club! We don’t care! Everything is
Everything! All we ask is that you use our symbol, FOE, in all your
posters and stuff that you wheat-paste around town to promote your
concert or party or event or just to cause trouble. Here are some of
the musical groups who are our affliates:
THE HAUNTED DRUNKS
SISTERZ OF SAPPHO
THEE KORNHOLE WRANGLERS
DAUGHTERZ OV ROXALENA
THE DSM IV
THE NEURASTHENIC NOMADZ
EPPUR SI MUOVE
THE THIRD ZIMBARDO
THEE IMMORTAL JELLYFISH
CHILDREN OF THE BROKEN SKYLINE
THE SQUARECROWS OF TIANANMEN SQUARE
THEE OKKULT REVOLVERZ
THEE NOSTAGIC PROPHETS
THE HONEY PEEPERS
If you’re in a band or even if you just like to pretend like you’ve
got your own “band” then why not send us your flyers and we will send
you our flyers and we can post them around town until THE MAN is
forced to acknowledge us!?
Therefore, send us your flyers!
Become part of the FOE!
The FOE is your FRIEND!
And someday–SOON!– the whole world will be surrounded by FOEs!
TIME AND PLACE TO BE ANNOUNCED!!!!
5. WEE ROBIN REDBREAST: A TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH TALE
Once was there a wee Robin Redbreast happin’ on a brier.
And slee Mister Foreman from the Mill, he says: “Where’s tu gaun, wee Robin?”
And wee Robin says: “I’m gaun awa’ to the Laird to sing him a sang
this guid Yule morning.”
And slee Mister Foreman says: “Come here, wee Robin, and I’ll let ye
ha’e a twenty spot tae work in my mill.”
But wee Robin says: “Na, na! slee Mister Foreman; Na, na! Ye worry’t
the wee lamster; but’ye’se no worry me.”
So wee Robin flew awa’ till he came to the Academy, and slee Mister
Pedant, he says: “Where’s tu gaun, wee Robin?”
And wee Robin says: “I’m gaun awa’ to the Laird to sing him a sang
this guid Yule morning.”
And slee Mister Pedant says: “Come here, wee Robin, and I’ll let ye
ha’e a twenty spot tae teach in my Academy.”
But wee Robin says: “Na, na! slee Mister Pedant; Na, na! Ye worry’t
the wee schoolboy; but ye’se no worry me.”
So wee Robin flew awa’ till he came to the Laird, and there he sat on
a window sill and sang the Laird a bonny sang.
And the Lady said to the Robin Redbreast, “Hwat, my pretty sonneteer,
dost thou grace my bonny sill this most holy of days?”
And wee Robin says “I’m come to see the Laird to sing him a sang this
guid Yule morning.”
And the Laird says to his Lady: “What’ll we gie to wee Robin for
singing us this bonny sang?”
And the Lady says to the Laird: “I think we’ll gie him some crumbs out
o’ my pooch.”
And no mair did the wee Robin go aboot happin’ on a brier.
For, in sooth, it was at that very glamourie mament that the good
Laird raucht o’er and brang the window sill down upon the wee Robin
Redbreast and did smush his gaupit fucking head.
6. MEET–THE WORLD DRUNK!
Who is he?
He’s not just the Town Drunk. he is…The World Drunk.
He drinks a lot.
By high noon he is blind drunk, yet has somehow managed to read all the newspapers cover-to-cover… and is carrying all 3 under his arm, folded, wherever he goes.
He wears gloves when it is 60 degrees outside.
He sweats worn under raggedy grease-tainted jeans from October until April.
Understandably, drinking limits his accomplishments but he nonetheless remains a beloved character among the sober citizenry.
Wears either a dirty jacket from sports team that is not local favorite, or an old suit jacket.
Rides a bike around really slowly, often wobbling his way down the street in an unbuttoned flannel shirt and paint spattered jeans while holding a brown paper bag.
Keeps company with a woman who looks like she is made out of baseball mitts. Who he slurringly addresses as, ‘Your Royal Highness.’
OUT STEALING CORPSES by Mary Shelley and Per Pederson.
THE SILENCE OF THE DOG WHISPERER by Thomas Haris and Cesar Millan
THE WIZARD OF M by L. Frank Baum and Fritz Lang
9. CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE…
These bestselling books and their heartwarming tales have inspired millions.
Here a tale that is, perhaps, my favorite:
MIZ GRIZABELA THE TOWN LIBRARIAN
The town librarian always went out of her way to be helpful and kind,
especially if she felt that a child was the victim of unfair
treatment. In fact, she would often launch herself head first into a
controversy without even thinking about the consequences. She was very
logical but also intuitive, and the townspeople would often go to her
with their problems. Often times, proceeding only on a hunch, she
would come up with a solution that satisfied everyone and hurt no one.
She brought many improvements to our little town. She even took it upon
herself to start a book group for the library.
She posted a sign-up sheet at the library to ask various library patrons to
sign up with their names and phone numbers if they were interested in joining
a reading discussion group.
After making the initial few selections herself, she eventually came to rely
increasingly upon book group input to determine what books should be read,
and in what order. She guided the group through genres as diversified as
memoir and travel, as well as timeless classics about relationships between
different kinds of people. Serving as book group leader, she would skillfully
ask certain pertinent questions that also helped to steer the discussion.
People would fly off on tangents, and she would let them; it was only when
the discussion threatened to totally fail to discuss the book, or when one
person dominated the discussion to the detriment of the enjoyment of others,
that she would step in to focus the group and steer the discussion back to the
In this way, Miz Grizabela brought a little of the wider world to our
sleepy little hamlet.
Folks often wondered what event in her life had compelled her to take
up residence in our small town. For, clearly, she was intended for
better things. Even though she seemed to have had wide experience of
the world, still, she seemed content to be always busying herself with
a dozen different little projects at once, nearly all of them
involving ways to improve the lives of others in our little town.
Miss Grizabela wore glasses and was very shy. But she when she took
her glasses off and let her hair down she was still very shy. And also
kind of ugly. And practically blind. Which made it very easy for me
and my buddies to knock her down and steal her purse.
ALSO BE SURE NOT TO MISS:
“Chicken Egg-Drop Soup for the Grieving Chicken Mother”.
“Minestrone for the Italian Mobster’s Widow.”
“Ghee for the Morbidly Obese Buddhist.”
“General Tso’s Chicken for the Decidedly Overweight Taoist.”
Finally, bold Satanists are invited to buy the book, “Lard for the
10. MORE BAND NAMES
Thee Quick-Acting Hypnotics
Asking For Trouble
Milk Of Amnesia
Gonna Do It For Johnny
Cowards Of 911
Acid Is Groovy Kill The Pigs
They Eat Their Young
Laugh It Up Furball
To The Batcave
Famous Movie Drunks
Thank You For Not Killing Us
The Filthy Monkeys
The Murder Of Abraham Lincoln
Old People In Hell
Gorilla Crime Boss
The Scum Bozoes
Sleep In The Grave
Russia’s Greatest Sex Machine
S.E. Hinton’s First Novel For Adults
Not So Fast Faggot
We Belong Dead
Pushkin Shot In Duel
His Bread In My Shoulder
My Wife’s Handwriting
The Bear Wiped His Ass With The Rabbit
I Can See Your House From Here
Old Fashioned Hate
Circuit Of A Dogma
Odd Enough To Be Your Father
Teenage Centurions For The Coming Armageddon
This Turbulent Priests
The Hammer Comes Down
Honey, I Smoked The Drugs
The Washington Consensus
The Drizzlin’ Shits
A Queer In Boys Town
Eagle On The Sunday Dollar
Stalin The Clown
A Puritan Christmas
The Beatnik Jet Pilots
The Containment Boys
Please Be Kind
The Minor 6145 Choir
The Clean Getaways
The Mosquito Apologists
A Pagan Suckled In A Creed Outworn
Eunuchss Of Empire
The Rat Parade
Alcoholic Penitentiary Inmates
Cruelty To Bears
Shitfire And Brimstone
Me Love You Long Time
Dance With The Go-Go Gophers
No Reasonable Offer Refused
Curses Fried Again
Dancing Hen On A Hotplate
University Of Blonde Delinquents
Hash And Lentils
Soggy Tramp Gumbo
Sea Urchin Jerky
Vacation Amid The Rubble
The Fat Little Nothings
The Plastic Bottlecaps
The Lemon Detectors
The Red Hot Pistols
Tranqs For The Memories
Bennies From Heaven
An Ashanti In Old Ashanti Town
The Bad Actors
The Fat Biker Chicks
The Car Toads
The Cake Eaters
First Of May
Oil Of Joy
The Prairie Comedians
The Wet Quakers
The Bird That Goes Beep Beep
Fight For Might And Right
Too Young To Know The Danger
Long Ears And Tail To Match
The Akasic Record Company
70 Bone-Breaking Secrets
Walk It Off, Jesus
11. WATCHMEN: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
Watchmen was a paradigm-changer back in 1986-7, as it dribbled out in
serial installments. Of course, it’s going to look a bit shopworn
over 30 years later. But back when it came out, no literate man had
ever so much as once seriously questioned the whole premise of
superheroes in a mass-market comic book.
Stan Lee? A mere pulpist.
Frank Miller? Alas, Ditto, with the added tang of a hard-on for noir.
Larry Welz? Negro, please….
And Howie Chaykin had quite a yen for porno which obviated any of his
In fact, that whole crew up to Alan Moore were more or less either
hacks or porn-mongers, or both.
Even Jack Cole.
Even Will Eisner.
Even Steve Ditko & Jack Kirby.
About the only persons doing intelligent work other than Moore and
Miller were Steve Rude and Mike Baron on Nexus, and maybe Los Bros.
Alan Moore, by the way, is seriously into the occult, though there’s
only fleeting glimpses of it in Watchmen. Far more to the point for a
serious Occultist would be FROM HELL, and, especially, book five of
12. SELECTIONS FROM THE FULL TEXT OF “SWAHILI EXERCISES”
[“Compiled for the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa”]
[Elspeth Huxley’s mother leaned Swahili from a a handbook issued by The
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which contained such
sentences as “The idle slaves are scratching themselves” and “Six
drunken Europeans killed the cook.”–Piers Brendon, THE DECLINE AND
FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE, p. 365.]
“The oldperson is dead.”
“I see the black smoke of a great fire.They are burning the deaf man’s books.”
“You will hurt the old man’s head. I have found the drunkard’s waistcoat.”
“The barber’s white donkey kicked my aunt.”
“The thieves took all our.turbans.”
“What sort of a chief is this drunkard?”
“The servant who brought my food. The good food which killed them all.”
“I do not much like idle slaves.”
“My father bought much fruit; a dwarf his enemy took it.”
“Our chief has killed your slave.”
“Your slave girls took my umbrella.”
“Destroy all the huts.”
“I bought the spear for an old rag.”
“Hide the books that they may not read.”
“Call the man who beat you, that I may see him.”
“Drive the blind man away. Let the deaf man stay.”
“I do not believe that this [man is] a wizard; you [are] all cowards,
and you fear a shadow.”
“These burdens are light. Those black burdens are heavy.”
“I saw you, you were boxing my slave boy’s ears.”
“Rub the table for us.”
“What sort of an overlooker is a blind person?”
“I know of your getting drunk.”
“The Europeans have cut down the cocoa-nut trees.”
“The masons did not want red umbrellas.”
“I do not like beating you.”
“Europeans do not like our medicine men.”
“If you love your children, beat them.”
“The Europeans bought many large umbrellas. They are cutting down
those good mango trees.”
“I see the white ashes of a great fire.They are burning the deaf man’s
“The European caught my spear and broke it, and I struck him, and
he said to the men who followed him, Kill that man ; and I ran away
“The savage chief prospered.”
“Your slave girls took my frying pan. ”
“The mangouste has bitten the child’s armpit.”
“You will hurt the old man’s eye.”
“The white ants have destroyed the account books.”
“A narrow hole. Another grave. Many graves.”
“He is not destroying your hut I do not forget your actions.”
“Supposing he should kill you, I will kill all his children.”
“The blood will remind me.”
“I have often remembered those two people ; they would at once have
killed us both, if they had known us. ”
“I have killed seven Seas.”
“The chief loves old men.”
“When they arrived at the river, the people in the road laughed,
and the donkey feared, kicked, and fell into the river and sank, and
the man and the youth returned to their house.”
“A just man is loved by his slave.”
“The children became blind.”
“I am not at all sorry.”
“These amusements do not please me.”
“All requests which the chief shall withhold to-day, I will hear afterwards.”
“Many people were with the chief. A few ran away ; those who ran away were
afterwards in our town, and I killed them all.”
“Bad people are worse than animals.”
“Let us kill them all out of the way.”
“The Europeans will not be conquered.”
“I have a sword, and [you] you have a spear and a shield ; what are we
to fear ? If a man has money he will be great. If a man has not money
he will not be great.”
“The world is evil.”