Man arrested for slapping his mama

Junction City Texas, April 19, 2022, Star-Gazer News Service–Joe Smith was arrested here today for slapping his mama silly while cooking up a frying pan of dirty rice with a tablespoon of hot blend Slap Ya Mama™ cajun seasoning for extra excitement.

According to police, Smith’s Cajun cookbook included a potentially apocryphal story that the seasoning sold by the Walker family of Ville Platte, Louisiana, made food so good you were supposed to slap your mama for never cooking anything that great.

According to the Walker Family, Anthony “TW” Walker (who invented the blend) has never slapped his mama, never even considered it. In reality, according to TW, ”When you use this seasoning, the food tastes so good, you’ll receive a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek for creating such a great tasting Cajun dish.”

Smith’s attorney, Aurelie Jones said that Smith missed the memo and/or the footnote in the recipe about mama slapping.

“I thought I had to slap my mama just after mincing the chicken gizzards or the recipe wouldn’t work,” said Smith. “That mojo was the conjure behind the cooking.”

Smith’s father, Wesson, said that if his boy had been cooking Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ, his son would be in the morgue because “Nobody slaps me and gets away with it. My wife Irene thinks the dirty rice faux pas was kind of funny after she iced down her face.”

The family is pressing assault and battery charges to “teach Joe a lesson.”

Jones told reporters that the dirty rice was spectacular, “though not worth jail time.”

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Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

Thumbing my nose at authority for 50+ years

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. – Groucho Marx

My problems with authority began in grade school and continue to this day. You see some evidence of that in the occasional fake news stories printed in this blog under the pseudonym Jock Stewart. I used to write these on earlier blogs and collected some of them in a book published by Lulu ten years ago. (It’s still there.)

A previous publisher saw these satircal news stories on my earlier blos and kept collecting them into novella-length collections. They’re no longer there because that publisher is no longer there.

The people who know me well (wife, neighbors, family, publisher) believe the “real me” is Jock Stewart rather than the angelic persona you see on this blog. The people who think I’m Jock Stewart believe that my thriller/satire novel Special Investigative Reporter is a memoir.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

In general, I agree with Groucho though, of course, I don’t get any traction out of that because he’s no longer there. Pratically speaking, I think politicians should have expiration dates so that they can do less damage to the country.

My superiors in the Navy knew I had this impression about them, meaning that my relationship with the brass was about like that of Alan Alda’s relationship with the brass in M*A*S*H. You’ll see some of this attitude in my Vietnam War novel At Sea.

In general, my authority problems have served me well in writing novels and short stories about people with authority problems. So that’s good, right?

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell writes satire because, well, society needs a quasi-sane voice in this chaotic old world of ours who’s not afraid to to call a crook a crook. He stands ready to swear on a stack of phone books that “Special Investigative Reporter” is fiction. Well, mostly.

Nightbeat: Why Book Sales Are Down

Nightbeat column, Star-Gazer News Service, Junction City, TX, July 1, 2021–Woke up early this morning because the “patriots” across the street were firing off cherry bombs and M-80s before the dawn’s early light even had a chance to pull itself together.

When I called the cops, the 911 dispatcher said they thought all that racket was “simply another neighborhood gang war, so hadn’t bothered to investigate.” I made coffee and checked to see if my typewriter had finished the column I started last night. Unfortunately, the only words on the otherwise blank sheet of Eaton’s Corrasable Bond typewriter paper was the title:

Nightbeat: Why Book Sales Are Down

Sometimes evil spirits, haints, and things that go bump in the night write my columns while I’m sleeping or passed out. No luck, so I showered, shaved, drank two cups of Maxwell House Coffee, and walked to the bad part of the neighborhood which, actually, is right next door. I cut through the unmowed backyards so the “patriots” wouldn’t see me and knocked on the man’s back door.

“Who sent you?” he asked.

“Bob Costas,” I whispered.

The door openly quickly and a withered arm snaked out and yanked me into the mudroom which, coincidentally, was filled with mud.

My source looked like death warmed over. “What do you need?”

“The straight skinny about falling book sales,” I said.

“Did James Patterson die last night?”

“No, but that wouldn’t matter since Tom Clancy is still churning out bestsellers.”

“When you’re right, you’re right, Jock,” he said as he lit up a Lucky Strike. “Otherwise, serious small press authors are being hurt because everyone thinks they have a book in them–actually, many books.”

“The old gag was ‘every journalist thinks he has a book in him and that’s where it should stay,'” I replied.

“My sources tell me the old rules and the old morals no longer count. Today’s self-published and small-press authors have developed writer’s diarrhea.”

“That stinks.”

“No sh_t. They’re–how should I put this?–spewing out cookie-cutter genre books at the rate of thousands of words per day per person. It’s the chief cause of global warming and insanity. I checked a secret survey last week and, as it turns out, only two or three people in the country are not writing books. You know what that means.”

He took a swig of Jack Daniels and passed me the bottle.

“Damn, that’s good,” I said. “Of course I know what it means. It means that Larry, Moe, and Curry, and the scum across the street are the only people out there who are still reading.”

“Damn straight.”

“So, that means that two or three people are using different names to post highly positive reviews on Amazon for those tawdry books while the good writers are lucky to find a review anywhere.”

“You planning to stay for breakfast.”

“Bacon and eggs?” I asked hopefully.

“Bangers and mash with gravy.”

“I’ll pass.”

“As always, this conversation never happened.”

“I know.”

I went home, typed up my notes, and faxed this column to the newspaper. The editor wouldn’t like it, but I don’t give a flaming rat’s butt about that because she knows I know she’s one of the people ruining literature with her 40-book series “The Piper and the Piper’s Missus.” People are addicted to it. It’s worse than Fentanyl.

Her readers are reviewing her books before they’re even released. We’re entering the end of times, kind readers, and you read it here first.

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

 

 

Cereal Killer Turns Breakfast into Time of Horror for Small Town

Immokalee, Florida, February 27, 2021, Star-Gazer News Service–In a town where the most dangerous predators are alligators, and lately Burmese Pythons coming out of South Florida’s swamps, nobody thought Frosted Flakes boxes would ever be enclosed in yellow police crime scene tape on the front lawns of houses along highway 29 as far south as Everglades City.

According to Collier County sheriff Mort Gillespie, what has become a major crime spree began when little Bobby went to the pantry to grab a box of Frosted Flakes for breakfast and discovered it was missing. In between the Wheaties and the Raisin Bran boxed at a note typed in 14 point Georgia:

Call the Police and Tony the Tiger Dies.

Bobby’s father, Elmer, called his friend Mort Gillespie since the note didn’t prohibit calling either the sheriff or the highway patrol.

Evidence tech techs tore apart the pantry looking for clues. And they found a fingerprint match to the notorious cereal killer Conrad Jones who hadn’t been active in ten years.

“What brought him out of the woodwork?” mused the sheriff.

“We held a cereal camp several weeks ago,” said Mort. “We got a lot of publicity. Tony the Tiger held multiple interviews where he stressed the values of a good breakfast and sports.”

According to the sheriff’s department, news of the crime wasn’t released to the public until a battered box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was found in a lonely alley near the casino.  Two days later, a box of Rice Krispies was discovered hanging from a palm tree several miles away.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, state troopers are canvassing neighborhoods and hauling in the usual suspects to learn whether anyone on the street knows the whereabouts of Conrad Jones.

“This is especially hard on the kids,” said FHP spokesman Harold Atkins. “We’re asking for the public’s help in locating witnesses and cereal lovers, in general, to make breakfast safe again. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day.”

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

 

For those who get too close

Nightbeat Column, by Jock Stewart, Star-Gazer News Service

In addition to a robber’s red bandana face mask, my grocery store costume includes a carpenter’s utility belt with a sign in 18-point Bodoni Bold type that says For Those Who Get Too Close.

COVID-19 oriented, my utilities do not include a hammer, screwdriver, vise grips, pliers, tape measure or T-square because handy as those tools are, they don’t scare huggers, hand shakers, coughers, and sneezers away.

Instead, I have these very practical items:

  • Wikipedia Photo

    TASER: For lone family members at the far end of the aisle who start running toward me sh0uting, “Jock, give me some sugar,” in the belief that being close at home (in some cases) means being close in the store is okay.

  • WASP Spray: Since this comes in long-range spray cans, it keeps White Anglo-Saxon Protestants on their side of the store without having to accept any tracts or lists of Bible verses.
  • Pepper Spray: Keeps hookers from coming up and whispering, “Jock, baby, I need $100 for a roll of toilet paper.”
  • Bowling Ball: If a bevvy of grannies from the neighborhood runs toward me for help carrying their Polident, Fig Newtons, and snuff back home, this can be rolled down the aisle for an easy strike. (I have two balls in case I come up with a dreaded 7-10 split on the first roll.)
  • Smith & Wesson 642 .38 Special Revolver: Keeps the cashiers on their side of the new sneeze screens.
  • Emergency Poster: Printed in 72-Point Bodoni Bold type, this sign says: I ALREADY GOT IT: HOW ABOUT YOU.

Shop only for essentials, be safe, and mainstain social distancing (or else).

“Nightbeat” appears on the Junction City Star-Gazer editorial page as needed

Special Investigative Reporter: it will make you happier during these blue times

A message from your sponsor (AKA, me)

On sale for 99 cents:

This novel is just what you need to get through these difficult times. Why? It’s about an old-style reporter who’s not afraid to say what he thinks even though a lot of what he thinks isn’t politically correct.

From the publisher: 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.

I like this novel because the main character, Jock Steward, says what I would say if I could get away with it. Let’s just say its a comedy with a bite.

Malcolm

Conjure Woman’s Cat is also on sale on Kindle for 99 cents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of covers again

I’m a long-time fan of film noir and had the genre in mind when I wrote my upcoming novel Special Investigative Reporter. A noir feature film is usually a fairly dark–and an often hopeless–kind of movie. It’s usually in black and white, features a lot of blunt, voice-over narration, and portrays cops and detectives trying to solve cases in foreboding environments.

Special Investigative Reporter isn’t a noir novel. It’s a mix of comedy, satire, and corruption. Yet, once I got my rights to the novel back from the publisher that released the original edition under another title, I thought we needed a stronger cover. I suggested to my publisher, Thomas-Jacob, that a big-city image might work. Melinda Clayton, who manages Thomas-Jacob and who writes darker novels than I do, designed a beautiful cover.

I like the city-scape scene, the word “bar” in the picture, and the stark, noir-film-like rendering of the title. The individual on the cover–who’s my protagonist Jock Stewart–looks like he could be a detective or newspaperman out of the film noir era. Melinda once told me that some of Jock Stewart’s lines reminded her of Humphrey Bogart. She has a good ear. I was thinking of the kind of voice-over narration he would do in such movies as “Dark Passage,” “Dead Reckoning,” and “Key Largo.” (If you like noir films and have Turner Classic Movies on your satellite or cable menu, look for Noir Alley. It features noir films–except in August–and I watch it like a religion.)

My protagonist Jock Stewart, who’s been a reporter since the days of letterpress, is old fashioned. He would despise the kind of “journalism” we see on the 24/7 news sites. This novel’s satire pokes fun at those kinds of sites and reminds us that journalism used to be about reporting the facts and not about displaying the reporter’s (or anchor’s) opinion about those facts.

I’ve been teasing you for a while about this upcoming novel, but we’re rather in a holding pattern waiting for Ingram to send us the proof copy of the hardcover edition. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying looking at Melinda’s cover.

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

 

 

 

About ready to re-release an out-of-print book

When I left my previous publisher to become part of Thomas-Jacob Publishing (T-J) in Florida, many of my titles went out of print. I have self-published some of them because I didn’t want to dump a box of titles on T-J. Some of those I have self-published have come out under new names. Some, like The Sun Singer (self-published) and Sarabande (T-J) kept their original titles.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been converting a PDF copy of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire into a DOCX copy of the newly titled Special Investigative Reporter.  The formatting has been tedious since the conversion, using Acrobat, produced a Word file with weird spaces and strange formatting in it.

I think the 2009 novel is still valid inasmuch as it hits on the growing tendency for news sites to mix opinion with facts or, in some cases, to present opinion instead of facts. So, I hope the novel will still be considered relevant by today’s readers.

As a journalism school graduate and former college journalism instructor, I become somewhat irate when an interviewer asks a guest a question and then proceeds to interrupt him/her by doing most of the talking. I can cite examples, but it’s probably safer not to do that. I don’t see that as journalism or even fairly presented opinion.

I grew up in a journalism environment. My father was a journalism textbook author, the dean of a college school of journalism, and active in a variety of press institutes. What I liked best in those days was hearing the stories of veteran journalists either at our house or the journalism school. They captured my imagination. So, I went to journalism school at the University of Colorado and Syracuse University as well as a summer journalism institute at Indiana University.

That means, there’s a lot of info available for a satirical newspaper reporter novel. I’m not sure my late father would approve because Special Investigative Reporter is a bit risque and presumes that many old-style reporters rank too much. My uncle, who was a reporter, might have liked booze a little too much–to my father’s chagrin. So do I, actually.

So, in spite of the tedious process of fixing the PDF-to-DOCX conversion of the novel’s file, I’ve had fun re-visiting a book that originally came out in 2009. I’ll let you know when the new edition come out. I hope you like it.

Malcolm