If you remember the “Hut Sut Song,’ you’re too old for the Internet

Internet or Bust

Like the 1959 Chevy Corvair that Ralph Nader called “the one-car accident,” the Internet seems to be a one-scam bankruptcy plan for seniors.

The Nigerian Prince scam is kid stuff (apparently) according to the warnings I see on AARP and elsewhere about the crooks waiting for me to on the Internet.

Supposedly, the Internet–and I’m not even talking about the dark web–is about as unsafe and unwholesome as the worst part of the bad part of town.

Can you imagine, at my age, I’m still solicited by online hookers? I feel like responding, “Where were you when I was 21?” But I don’t because I know that even an innocent comment like that will bring shame, scandal, and jail time.

For all I know, scam artists are probably robbing me blind and I haven’t even seen it. Thinking that if you can’t beat them, join them, I went to the art department of a major university and signed up for the Scam Art course.  Cost me $10,000. The whole shebang was a scam.

As for the “Hut Sut Song,” it’s nonsense from the 1940s. You can Google it if you don’t remember it. If you do remember it, log off the Internet immediately because most online pros consider you to be prey. And you are.

So am I. But I like to live dangerously. So do you, or you wouldn’t be reading this post.  I promise you, there is no malware here, no fake sweepstakes info, no phony prescription drug deals or fake anti-aging products, and no sweetheart scams. I’m amazed at the number of scams out here. But they all seem to play on what we want most: perfect health, infinity and beyond.

Really, there’s no free lunch is there? But we can always hope, and that’s why we’re prey.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the satirical comedy “Special Investigative Reporter.”

You Can’t Get to Heaven…

Old and New Verses for an Old  Song:

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven in Donald Trump’s car
‘Cause the damned old thing ain’t going that far.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven on roller skates
‘Cause you roll right past those pearly gates.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven with Pelosi’s new grammar
‘Cause the Lord don’t allow those who stutter and stammer.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven from the electric chair
‘Cause the Lord don’t allow no fried meat there.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven with VP Mike Pence
‘Cause he’s stuck sitting on a picket fence.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven in a limousine
‘Cause the Lord ain’t got no gasoline.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven reading fake news
‘Cause the Lord don’t allow no phony views.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven on a Honda bike
‘Cause you’ll get halfway, then you’ll have to hike.

Oh, you can get to Heaven with the Capitol Police
‘Cause they can’t even keep the peace.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven in dirty jeans
‘Cause heaven’s got no washing machines.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven from the Senate floor
‘Cause Mitch McConnell never opens the door.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven with powder and paint
‘Cause it makes you look like what you ain’t.

Oh, you can’t get to Heaven from Alex Trebek’s chair
‘Cause Mr. Trebek, he’s already there (eternal rest for $500 Alex).

And that’s the end, St. Peter said
As he closed the gates and went to bed.

FEDs retire ‘2020’ from use on future calendars

Washington, D. C., December 30, 2020, Star-Gazer News Service The U. S. Calendar Control Commission announced here this morning that it has banned the year 2020 from usage on future calendars.

Commission Chairperson Julian Gregorian explained to reporters that bad years are retired in the same manner that the names of bad hurricanes are retired.

“Eighty-two hurricane names have been retired,” Gregorian said. “You’ll never see another Carol, Donna, Hugo, or Katrina because those storms were so badass that we’re too superstitious to use their names again.”

According to CCC scientists, if Pope Georgory XIII had deigned to use Tarot Cards in 1582 when he introduced our current calendar system, he would have omitted years that were designated as controlled by demons, and the world would have avoided multiple plagues, wars, and bad luck.

“There never would have been a 1918 influenza outbreak, a 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, no 9/11 attacks, and no 20202 COVID-19 pandemic,” Gregory said.

A CCC backgrounder for reporters explained that even if the United States implemented a new calendar system, today’s action guarantees that ill years will never appear on it.

Calendar expert, Joseph Lunisolar told reporters that bad times could also be avoided by employing government astrologers.

“Until that happens,” he said, “we’ll continue to pay the price for thumbing our noses at the fates.”

-30-

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

Witless People Being Taken Away, ha ha

Washington, D.C. (Star Gazer News) – The U. S. Marshals Service announced here today the formation of the Witless Protection Program (WPP) to be run in tandem with the Witness Security Program (WITSEC) that was established in 1970. The new program will protect stupid people from themselves and will be administered under the FISA court system for the betterment of all humankind.

“If the clueless person in your apartment building suddenly disappears,” said Marshal Dillon, “it means a secret court has decided that happens to him/her is best kept secret.”

When several reporters asked if people can nominate witless folks who haven’t disappeared, Dillon said, “Sure, in fact, we encourage it.”

According to informed sources, the U.S. postoffice is working with WPP to allow witless nominations to be placed into USPS “Santa Mailboxes” where–the FEDS promise–there is “no video surveillance whatsoever ever.”

WPP program director Chester Goode told reporters that witlessness is a disease that requires compassionate treatment modalities designed to “fix these people up good as new.”

When asked what “good as new” actually meant, Goode said that it meant whatever the federal government wants it to mean when national security protocols are considered.

“We’ve got more protocols than you can shake a stick at,” Dillon added. “If you step on a sidewalk crack and break your mother’s back, you’re gonna be taken off the sidewalk by Homeland Security Agents. Ditto for a mother punching another mother in the nose while hanging out clothes.”

According to an ACLU spokesperson, the new program is as unconstitutional as cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels. 

“The ACLU’s got it bad and that ain’t good,” said Director Goode. 

–Story Filed by Special Investigative Reporter, Jock Stewart

 

Er, just trying to learn (heh heh)

Whenever people take offense at the questions I ask, I respond, “I’m just trying to learn.” Writers are always asking questions, so a lot of people buy this answer–unless they known me well. If they know me well, they know I was just being sarcastic (heh heh).

Late last year, I went out to dinner with a former good friend named Mark. When our beer arrived–mine was Sam Adams and his was some kind of cheap swill, his first comment was, “This beer tastes like goat piss.”

“What breed of goat?”

“What?”

I just wondered how you knew what goat piss tasted like, so I thought maybe you raised Toggenburgs or Fainting Goats and had a special experience.”

“Of course not,” snapped Mark. “It’s just an expression for ‘this stuff tastes really bad.'”

“Oh, well, I was just trying to learn.”

I’ve asked a similar question when people say things like, “This stew tastes like dog shit.”  I know what they mean, of course, but it’s fun to yank their chains and ask, “How do you know?”

A writer can never ask too many questions unless the other person is the size of the Incredible Hulk and/or has an AK-47 with a full magazine. At that point, learning isn’t necessary. Well, it’s never really necessary because what I’m I’m looking for is each person’s reaction to being asked if his/her knowledge comes from having tasted the stuff.

Common expressions that also have a literal meaning provide a lot of fun for writers. Yes, I know, we’re inside all the time and don’t get out much.

Malcolm

Thanks to all of you who stopped by Amazon to pick up an on-sale copy of “Fate’s Spells.” I hope you like it.

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