Ain’t got no cigarettes or wisdom either

A commenter on my last post said, “Found a peanut? That’s your wisdom for the day?”

I’m neither a man of means nor the king of the road. That means I’ve made a dreadful mistake if I gave y’all the idea I have any wisdom to dispense. I’m just a country writer, folks, living on the remainder of a farm that’s been in the family for five generations. I’m writing about the South these days partly because I live here, though, with the current political environment, I hesitate to say I’m from the South because people in the social media and on some news programs are accusing those of us living here of starting the Civil War.

That’s absurd, of course, because none of us were here at the time. We’re called a lot of things because the country seems to enjoy making fun of the South, saying we’re all half ignorant and probably bumpkins even though some of the country’s best literature came from our part of the country.

Yes, we like grits and we consider sushi to be only good for baiting one’s hook on a fishing trip. So what?

I’ve been in almost every state in the union, went to college in New York, and lived and worked in the Chicago area. Nothing I’ve experienced or witnessed gives me any reason to think the South is better or worse than any other part of the country. It doesn’t take a guru to come to that conclusion. So, I’m okay with living here–except when the taunts against Southerners get started.

According to Wikipedia, “Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.” I don’t even know what that means, but I can tell you this, I ain’t got it.

If I need a dose of Wisdom, I get out my copy of the “I Ching” just like everyone else. The oracle always tells me what’s up and what’s going down.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism and contemporary fantasy novels and short stories, including “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

 

 

Woman ticked off at friends who won’t buy her a new washing machine

Junction City, TX, January 18, 2020, Star-Gazer News Service–Joyce Carlton admits she made a mistake when she sought help from her neighbors when she needed a Maytag 6.0 CU. PT. extra-large capacity top load agitator washing machine for $1,399.

“I got mixed up and told all my friends I was starting a crow funding event to raise the money and needed to know how to do it because I’m not Internet savvy,” Carlton said. “The response was tepid, presumably because a lot of people don’t like crows.”

According to Carlton’s husband, Bill, the 12-year-old kid, “what’s his face,” next door took pity on her and not only told her the correct term was “crowdfunding,” but showed her how to set up the event and announce it via e-mail and Facebook.

“Joyce said, ‘Don’t tell anybody this, honey, but I feel like a real ninny having all my Facebook friends thinking I was raising money to support crows,'” Bill Carlton told reporters after the house was covered with instructive graffiti such as, “Need a washing machine, get a job” and “How many men are you doing laundry for, slut?”

Carlton’s next-door neighbor Wanda James said that she had a heart-to-heart talk with Joyce over three cups of badly made coffee in Joyce’s kitchen.

“I explained that crowdfunding is generally intended as a way to raise money for a favorite charity or for a truly needy family that needs help,” said James. “She told me she was truly needy because she was struggling with an ancient washing machine without all the bells and whistles people need in today’s world.”

Police said they have yet to catch the person or persons who spray-painted graffiti on the white stucco of the Carltons’ house. An informed source, who is not authorized to speak for publication, said that everyone in the neighborhood with an old washing machine is a suspect.

“My daughters sell Girl Scout cookies and Joyce never bought any. My other next-door neighbor’s son sold band candy and Joyce never bought any. The homeowners association held a fundraising drive to help the Sweeneys after their house burnt down, and Joyce and Bill couldn’t spare a dime,” James said.

Joyce and Bill Carlton acknowledged that they were both cheapskates when it came to helping others, but thought that their beautifully appointed lawn–compliments of Hanson’s Lawn Care Service–would show the community that they were entitled to more respect.

“I guess we’re going to be chipping into to every clown who rings our doorbell whining for money for one dirtbag cause or another,” Bill Carlton said.

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

‘Moo’ by Jane Smiley

If you were born yesterday, or perhaps last week, you probably haven’t heard of this darkly satirical and nearly farcical novel about a midwestern agricultural college referred to as “Moo U.” I first read it a quarter of a century ago when it first came out. Now that I’m re-reading, I find it just as funny and just as true when it comes to university politics and the misfits who keep schools forever running on square wheels as I did in 1995.

I worked at two universities (not counting student jobs), attended four others, and–along with the rest of the family–followed by father to at least another five as he moved up through the ranks of college professors and deans. Suffice it to say, I know college politics in spades. That’s why I see this novel as the Bible detailing what’s really happening behind all those ivy-covered walls.

In a 1996 interview with Elisabeth Sherwin, Smiley says that she did not model the story after Iowa State University where she was teaching then. She told Sherwin, “I always wanted to write both a tragedy and a comedy on the same theme. ‘A Thousand Acres’ was the tragedy, the theme was American agriculture and technology, and ‘Moo’ was the comedy.”

At the moment, most people know Smiley from her recent “The Last Hundred Years Trilogy: A Family Saga Series” that includes Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age. I liked the trilogy and see it as quite an achievement. But when I first found Jane Smiley’s work, it was her fifth novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres. That one remains my favorite.

Here are a few excerpts from Moo:

“This was an aspect of Barbie-hood that Mary had never given any thought to, that Barbie created Ken, anatomically incorrect to the very core of his brain, where he understood as well as he understood his own name that Barbie was inviolable.”

“He was turning out to be one of those men whose interest diminished as they got to know you. You got into this pattern of trying to be interesting by revealing more and more of yourself, like a salesman unpacking his sample bag, but the man, though he looked like he was smiling and paying attention, was really shaking his head internally—not that, not that either, no I don’t think so, not today.”

“Those Latin American and Eastern European novelists aren’t any help here. They live inside the mansion of female desire as if it is their right. Their own desire is a nice healthy dog on a string, ready to eat, fuck, fetch, piss on the bushes.”

Unfortunately, I can’t find a pithy excerpt that illustrates the dark side of Moo U. I can’t tell you how and why I think Moo is true of some really colleges without libelling a lot of people. If you decide to read Moo, I suggest you wait until after you’ve graduated from college. If you read it before you go to college, you’ll never go to college.

Malcolm

Just Released: ‘Special Investigative Reporter’ by Malcolm R. Campbell

Thomas-Jacob Publishing has released my satirical mystery Special Investigative Reporter, which is a change of pace from my Florida Folk Magic series. At present, the Amazon link is displaying the Kindle edition, but will soon include the paerpback and hardcover editions. The book is also available online at Apple, B&N, and Kobo. Your favorite bookstores can order the book under standard terms and conditions from their Ingram Catalogue.

Description

Now Available

In this satirical and somewhat insane lament about the fall of traditional journalism into an abyss of news without facts, Special Investigative Reporter Jock Stewart specializes in tracking down Junction City’s inept and corrupt movers and shakers for his newspaper The Star-Gazer.Since

Stewart is not a team player, he doesn’t trust anyone, especially colleagues and news sources. Stewart, who became a reporter back in the days when real newsmen were supposed to smoke and drink themselves to death while fighting to get the scoop before their competition sobered up, isn’t about to change.

Stewart’s girlfriend leaves him, the mayor’s racehorse is stolen, people are having sex in all the wrong places (whatever that means), and townspeople have fallen into the habit of sneaking around and lying to reporters and cops.

Sure, everyone lies to the cops, but reporters expect gospel truths or else. Stewart may get himself killed doing what he was taught to do in journalism school, but that’s all in a day’s work.

Book Within a Book

In the story, Jock Stewart has released some of his columns in a book called Worst of Jock Stewart. That book is real and can be found here.

The Fine Print

This novel was originally released by another publisher under another title (with the words “Sea of Fire” in it), but went out of print. At a time when people are complaining about biased news sources and “fake news,” the novel is more relevant now than when it first appeared.

A Letter From Jock Stewart

Jock Stewart’s letter to prospective readers, which appears on the dust jacket of the hardcover edition, can also be found on my website.

I hope you have a good time reading this satire.

–Malcolm

EPA to Implement Cistern Plan to Solve Rising Seas Problems

Washington, D.C., July 25, 2019, Star-Gazer News Service–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon begin placing rows of used crude oil storage tanks, each capable of holding 16 million gallons of liquid, in the open spaces at solar farms, wind farms, abandoned military bases, and Alien holding cells at Area 51. These tanks will be linked to a vast pumping station and pipeline network that will extract seawater from the oceans to counteract rising sea levels.

At this morning’s press conference, EPA Deputy Manager of Oceans, Leilani Moana reported that while the agency has not reversed its position about the unreality of climate change and related rising sea levels, it recognizes that small, short term climate anomalies are causing a public panic about the future of states like Hawai’i and Florida.

“Since the EPA feels your pain,” Moana said, “our top scientists and engineers  have devised a system of pumping stations, pipelines, and aqueducts to remove water from coastal areas and store it inland until it can be safely released.”

Some of the pumping stations would be tied into desalinization plants that would reduce the pressure on river systems for potable freshwater during times of drought.

According to a NASA white paper, launching water into the sun on Saturn V rockets would be cost-prohibitive even though some experts said such a program would cool the sun slightly, allowing Arctic glaciers to reform to help stabilize sea levels.

“The world’s excess heat is primarily caused by heated arguments about climate change that are turning the entire issue into a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Moana said. She added that groups claiming that the weight of the water in the cisterns would push the U.S. deeper into the ocean are unfounded.

Scientists told reporters this morning that the water held in the cisterns would always remain available to be pumped back into the oceans should weather anomalies ever decrease sea levels to the point where cruise ships were scraping bottom trying to get in and out of popular tourist destination ports.

“The Earth’s water supply is a closed system,” said EPA Chief Oceanographer Porter “Po” Seidon. “The water we have is all the water we have. All we’re doing is improving upon the Creator’s design to better manage that water in times of weird high temperatures or weird low temperatures.”

“We think we’ll have the system up and running before we lose southern Florida,” Moana said.

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

 

 

FEDS Announce Fix to Rising Seas Problem

Washington, D. C., April 27, 2019, Star-Gazer News Service – The U. S. Secretary of Ocean Waters and Rain (OWAR) announced here today that he has directed NASA and NOAA to partner in a “bold new program” to fix the problem of rising sea levels.

“While scientific theories approved by the federal government have yet to prove beyond a reasonable doubt why sea levels around the world are rising,” said OWAR chief Greg Gumo, “we know how to fix the problem whether it’s being caused by spurious global warming theories or the documented impact of more humans and animals peeing in the ocean.”

Gumo said that the idea dawned on him a few days ago when he was looking for extra space in the garage for his patent medicine collection. Departmental wordsmiths translated his musings into a new whitepaper called “All the Space We Need is Right Over our Heads.”

Regulations call for NOAA to transport 55-gallon drums of water–taken only from areas where the ocean is the highest–to Cape Canaveral where NASA will re-purpose Saturn V rockets and blast the extra seawater into deep space. The salt would be filtered out and sold to sea salt companies for use at fine restaurants.

According to OWAR scientists, most of the Earth’s excess sea water will be sent to to Mars, the moon, and other dry celestial objects that can benefit from the introduction of life-giving water.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) suggests that the ALL THE SPACE WE NEED (ATSWN) program will be funded by a new toilet flush tax.

GAO spokesmen Jake Yourin said, “It hasn’t escaped our notice that sea level rise is a function of increasing populations, in short, the rise of the household and industrial wastewater. In the near future, those who pee will be those who pay.”

Number crunchers from several think tanks speculate that people can save money by drinking fewer liquids and flushing less. Meanwhile, drones and satellite imagery will ensure that people don’t start pissing in the woods

Gumo told reporters he expects both houses of Congress to fast-track and approve the enabling legislation since “nobody wants water getting into the basements of coastal hotels and condos even though those structures put pee in the ocean faster than some no-tell motel in Iowa.”

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter.

 

 

 

Novelist accused of hiding subliminal spells in novels

Junction City, TX, 9/22/2018, Star-Gazer News Service–A Local author was picked up by local cops and arraigned before a local judge after 15 local women allegedly died after reading his new novel, Give Me All Your Money, Babe.

During this morning’s news conference, Chief Kruller clarified that the women were dead rather than allegedly dead. “‘Allegedly’ referred to and real or imagined a connection between author Caine Molasses novel and the women’s demise,” said Kruller.

“I wasn’t there when it happened,” Molasses told reporters. “I was busy working on my new novel, Thanks for All Your Money, Babe, a satirical yarn about the gigolo business. I’ve made more money gigoloing than I have writing because today’s readers are buying most of their books from famous writers who are publicized by PR flacks working for big New York publishers.”

According to witnesses, the 15 women died moments after stopping by the Merchants and Farmers National Bank on Maple Street where each of them wrote Molasses a check before dying of supposedly unnatural causes.

“They just collapsed,” said teller Bert Jenkins. “Several of them bit me when I tried to administer CPR, but they died anyway. It’s like they knew their number was up.”

Police said that after interviewing Molasses for 25 minutes, he was “clearly in the clear.”

Reporters learned that Molasses’ muse, Sally Sweetwater, stuck up for him by claiming they were together the entire evening.

“Personally, I think each of the women took an undetectable poison before walking into the bank. They loved Molasses, especially when he called them honey. But they knew that all of them couldn’t possibly marry him because that would be against the law, silly as it may be.”

Coroner Jack Stiff said he never detected any undetectable poison in the women’s bloodstreams during the autopsy.

Stiff, who said that he had seen enough stiffs in his life to determine the cause of death in a matter of moments, said that as far as he could tell, the women died due to an unusual blight of mass hysteria.

“Each of them thought they were the only one he loved,” said Stiff.

According to a white paper file by psychiatrist Sigmund Jung–author of Death Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry–“love kills more people than bullets, knives, or heavy objects in a room.”

“I thought I could juggle all those broads forever,” said Molasses. “I feel really sorry this happened, but luckily I’ll forget about it in a few weeks when I pick up somebody new at the grocery store.”

After the deaths were announced, the Texas Booksellers Associations announced that Molasses latest novel was number one on the bestseller list.

“For every dark cloud, there is a silver lining,” police chief Kruller said.

–Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

District of Columbia Secedes from Union

New Columbia, August 8, 2018, Star-Gazer News Service–In an announcement that came as no surprise to those who saw the writing on D. C. license plates, Washington D.C. seceded from the Unite States at midnight and named itself New Columbia.

“We did it for the same reason the colonies threw off the oppressive yoke of England in 1775,” said Interim head of state, James Otis. “And that is the tyranny of taxation without representation.”

New Columbia officials said the action was taken because petitions for voting rights have been denied, statehood attempts have been stifled, a more provocative slogan couldn’t be agreed upon for license plates, and Maryland refused to consider taking back the 6.34 square mile site.

According to informed sources, New Columbia now controls all the armed forces of the United States inasmuch as those forces answer to the Federal Government.

“Unlike the Secesh of 1861,” said Otis, “we have the military power to stand our ground.”

To emphasize New Columbia’s power, thirteen B-52 bombers carpet-bombed Fort Sumter with red, white, and blue water balloons, leaving Charleston area officials all wet. In a symbolic gesture from an earlier era, New Columbia officials dumped tea produced by American growers into the Potomac River

In related news, California seceded from the United States at 12:01 a.m. since, as officials in Sacramento said, “we’ve been ignoring Federal law for years.” They were quick to point out that they were not allying themselves with New Columbia.

Political analysts believe that Congress will be disbanded soon because it is now made up of officials from outside New Columbia. “It’s largely a money sink anyway,” said Otis.

As of press time this morning, world markets were reacting favorably to the action.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

‘The Paramecium Papers’ Banned in All Fifty States

Parents in local school districts across the country have banded together to challenge a proposed new series’ inclusion in K-12 level school libraries and literature classes on grounds that the material: (a) is without Biblical foundations, (b) tends to teach evolution, and (c) scares kids by hypnotizing them into believing purported microscopic organisms in the water are controlling the way they think.

A new group called Ignorant Louts Against Science (ILAS) was hastily formed in Boston last night to provide funds and position papers to beleaguered parents who need legal help in fighting “this insidious new blogging niche.”

“My poor kid little Bobby got so thirsty, he had to be put on an IV to stay hydrated when he was led to believe the water was no longer safe to drink,” said Sue Smith. “My husband inadvertently got him drunk by giving him beer because ‘beer kills those little buggers in the water.'”

The American Civil Liberties Union declined to get involved in the case, arguing that paramecia had no Constitutional rights, except possibly in California,

“Of course, we’ve been drinking the water,” said ACLU spokesperson William Bryan, “so we’ll stipulate that if the paramecia in our drinking water are controlling our thoughts, we may not be thinking straight, legally speaking.”

According to ILAS officials, “Saying paramecia in the water might be controlling our thoughts is like yelling ‘fire’ in crowded theater. Better that we should die slowly over a long period of time if those little critters are real than to trample each other immediately while running like a crazed mob out of libraries and classrooms where bed-wetting liberal teachers are using ‘The Paramecium Papers’ as gospel.”

Sue Smith admitted that there as “an outside possibility” that “The “Paramecium Papers” might be true.

“If the papers are true, the threat from paramecia is like global warming. It’s only going to kill people in the future, so there’s no need getting our panties in a wad about it now,” Smith said.

Famed author and raconteur Malcolm R. Campbell, who created “The Paramecium Papers” as a prospective new blogging niche said, “The whole thing was a joke and certainly wasn’t intended as material for inclusion in school libraries and classes. I considered doing a Crowdfunding initiative to raise the $1000000000000 needed to fight the censorship plans of ILAS, but I didn’t want to be caught in the middle of the entertainment directors at CNN and FOX when they reported what they thought I meant.”

Malcolm

 

 

Conjurers implement ‘Congress Be Gone’ spell work

Washington, D.C., March 10, 2018, Star-Gazer News Service–Dumbfounded federal agents admitted in the dawn’s early light here today that they have no “anti-spell” technology available to stop the Conjure Women of America’s powerful Congress Be Gone spell.

“Congressmen and women are dropping like flies as the spell flows through the Capitol building like left over green slime from an old horror movie,” said Washington station agent Charles W. Chesnutt.

Implemented when Senators and Representatives begin using greyed out speech balloons that led to squabbling and gridlock instead of action, the spell is forcing lawmakers to put their rails between their legs and leave.

“We wrote down old regrets on parchment and tied them up with devil’s shoestrings and a pinch of goofer dust while burning black candles dressed with fermented sodium pentothal,” said Caroline Dye, matriarch of Conjure Women of America, LLC.

Devil’s Shoestrings – Wikipedia photo

“They’ve got out nuts roasting over an open fire,” said Chesnutt. “Someday soon the halls of government will be cleared out, deadsville, flat empty, lights on but nobody’s home, and I’m betting my pension we’ll be going with them.”

Analysts at the Seals of Solomon Think Tank on Backlick Road said they can’t think of anything to do except draw their paychecks like Congress while doing “absolutely nothing.”

“When it comes to Congress, the tail ain’t even wagging the dog,” said Chief Thinker, Daniel Stormy. “Damn town has turned into a giant hoax-a-thon.”

“Congress has turned into a pack of dogs that won’t hunt,” Dye told reporters at her Chillum, Maryland moonshine still. “Once they pack it up, we’ll let the good Lord sort things out.

-30-

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter.