Voyd of Course

"It's like the Onion, only skinnier!" --Milton Swift "Still worth the price of the paper it's not printed on." --Felicia DuBois "The unspeakable, spoken." --Malin Wuptke "More interesting than computer solitaire, though perhaps not so effective a distraction from the void." --Harlan J. Rippington "Satire today, history tomorrow." --Steven Wallace

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Location: Santa Fe, NM, United States

In 1966, I wrote a fake newspaper article under the headline "JACK CASS SETS WORLD SHOWERING RECORD." Mr. Yohans, my 9th grade English teacher, liked it so well that he read it aloud--to much not-quite-suppressed giggling, at the sound of which, Mr Yohans said, "What? What? Did I miss something here?" I spent the rest of the afternoon in Principal Leon Duff's outer office. When Mr. Duff, who was a busy man, decided he didn't have time to see me, his secretary sent me back to the classroom, where I was greeted like McMurphy returning from solitary. Emboldened by my de facto exoneration, my friends began work on their own fake news stories. I remember a spate of Russian names in the stories, including "Ivan Kutchikokoff" and "Ivan Jerkinov." Needless to say, our newly suspicious teacher sent both of my friends to Mr. Duff's office, where they were not as bureaucratically blessed as I had been. They sat detention for a week. This I took as a lesson in subtlety--and in how to start a commotion and slip from the room before the law comes down.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Local News Headlines

James Carver's Shocking Lack of Taste Extends to Clothing, Food, Films, Interior Design

This Just In: News That Stays News


Santa Fe—Josh Martin, known as “Dead Chomsky” in his role as lead singer and guitarist of local punk band The Nihilists, announced Wednesday at Warehouse 21’s weekly promoters’ meeting that he was “filled with self loathing” now that his band’s first CD, “Globallistic,” was receiving national airplay and favorable reviews in Spin and Rolling Stone.

“This is wrong, wrong, wrong,” Martin/Chomsky muttered as he paced around the room slapping over cymbal stands and tossing books and papers onto the floor. “Our goal was to make really great music that was so abrasive that everyone over twenty-two would hate it, but our manager booked us to open for Rancid and next thing you know we’re Green Day.”

Matt White, known as Matt Black in his role as The Nihilists’ drummer, was more sanguine. “I don’t know, Josh,” he offered, “I’m kind of okay with it. I mean, I could use a new double-bass pedal, and there’s this paintball gun I’ve had my eye on.”

Martin/Chomsky leaned his face close to White’s and, after a dramatic pause, barked the single word, “sellout,” to which White mouthed the word “So?”

“So? So!” shouted Martin/Chomsky. “Don’t you get it? If we’re successful, then we’ve failed.” He walked to the white board and wrote “SUCCESS EQUALS FAILURE!”

White, puzzled, asked why they’d made a CD or why they’d even formed a band in the first place.

“The CD, the band, everything,” replied Martin/Chomsky, “was supposed to be rejected, hated even, by everyone but a small group of loyal, disaffected teens and pre-teens. It was not supposed to be embraced by the corporate rock establishment. Next thing you know, we’ll be playing “Death to the World Bank” on the Grammys, with models dressed as punks dancing in cages. All of it underwritten by the very same World Bank we’re criticizing. I knew we should have called that song ‘Fuck the World Bank.’ I just knew it.”

“The Grammys? Models in cages?” the irrepressible White said, “cool!”

After the meeting, a still fuming Martin/Chomsky announced that he was disbanding The Nihilists and forming a new band called Shit.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

U.S. Headlines


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This Just In: News That Stays News


New Haven, Connecticut—James and Laura Williams, who had planned to spend their fifth wedding anniversary over champagne and filet mignon at The Top of the Park Restaurant, spent it at home instead, puzzling over Laura’s mother’s anniversary card.

Interviewed at her modest home on Edgewood Avenue, Laura Williams sat at her kitchen table flipping the card open and closed; each time, a troubled expression clouded her features. “On the face of it, it seems normal enough,” said Laura Williams. “It’s a standard Hallmark Card, embossed roses, a lovely, if a little too sentimental message.”

What troubled Mrs. Williams, who celebrated her wedding anniversary on October 25th, was the inscription. “Happy ‘Anniversary,’” her mother had written. She signed the card “’Love,’ Your ‘Mother.’”

“We didn’t know how to read it,” said a clearly upset Mrs. Williams. “’Anniversary’ and ’Love’ in quotation marks? What is that? Is she being ironic? Is she insinuating that it’s not really our anniversary? Is she quoting someone?”

Mrs. Williams was most disturbed, though, by the quotations around the word Mother. “Does this mean she is not really my mother? I know I don’t look much like her—she’s blonde and my hair is jet-black--but this is one hell of a time to raise the issue of parentage. I’m thirty five years old!”

Laura Williams’ mother, Mrs. Janet Oliver, was not reachable by phone, but intsead sent a note that read, “My ‘daughter’ can be so ‘emotional.’ I hope your ‘article’ helps to ‘settle her down.’” Complicating matters further, the note was signed “’Sincerely,’ Mrs. Janet Oliver.”

Science in the News


"Not an Issue of Readability," Reports Research Team Leader Jeff Grimsby

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Event Listings for Tuesday, October 25

MySpace Recovery Group Chat tonight at 8 PM on MySpace

This Just In: News That Stays News


Albuquerque, NM—Local college student Angela Carter, who until recently called herself “Madguurl” on the popular internet community MySpace, now says she regrets posting a photo of herself, drink in hand, pulling her midriff top provocatively off one shoulder.

Carter, a junior majoring in Political Science at the University of New Mexico, discussed her experience over a latte in the Coffee Hut, a popular local restaurant. “At first I thought, ‘Wow, I look good!’ Then the friend requests started pouring in. I got 526 requests the first day—all from guys saying things like ‘wow, you look hot!’ and ‘whoa, party girl’ and ‘what up, party girl?’ and ‘hey, hottie, we should party.’ There were, like, way too many exclamation points involved. It was a total booty call. I replied to the first ten or fifteen requests. They were all frontin’ they were twenty-five, but most of the guys seemed to be 11 or 12 years old. They were all G’d out, too, talkin’ jazz about ‘homies’ and ‘road dogs,’ always ‘knucklin’ up” or ‘puttin’ vests on their jimmies,’ ‘bein’ P.O.D. in L.B.C.’ or ‘marinatin’ in their cribs.’ I don’t wanna sweat their technique, but, hey, I’m highsidin’ these wankstas. I don’t need no beat bitin’ cave boys from the burbs tossin’ me no cateye.”

Immediately after the interview, Carter posted a demure photo of herself and her dog, Aristotle, and revised her profile to say she enjoyed “long walks, reading, self-improvement, and talking about relationships.”

Friday, October 21, 2005

This Just In: News That Stays News

Critics Call it a Transparent Move to Lift His Ailing Poll Numbers

Washington--In a radio address today, President Bush announced a sweeping new intiative in the manner of the Clear Skies Initiative, the Healthy Forests Initiative, and No Child Left Behind. Called the Happy, Approving People Act, the bill would require citizens, according to the president, "to stop grumbling in public" and to respond positively to surveys that ask questions like "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" and "do you approve of the President's handling of the war, domestic policy, the environment, and the economy?"

Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy called the act a transparent attempt by the president to bolster his own approval ratings, which have fallen from a record high of 90% immediately after the September 11th terrorist attacks to below 40% in most recent polls. In an afternoon press conference, a smiling White House Spokesman Scott McLellan dismissed Senator Kennedy's charge as "ludicrous."

This Just In: News That Stays News


McKeesport, Pennsylvania--Lawyers for Robert Ferrin, whose suit against a gun manufacturer is about to be thrown out of court after the passage of the Firearm Manufacturers Protection Act passed by congress yesterday, now say that Ferrin, a smoker for twenty years, actually died of lung cancer just before seven bullets from an illegally purchased handgun ripped through his 42 year old body. The team of lawyers say they will drop the suit against the Olin arms manufacturing company and Wal-Mart and join a class-action lawsuit against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, the Liggett Group, and Brown & Williamson, the five largest cigarette manufacturers. Meanwhile, in Washington, Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas) leaned back in his office chair, sighted down the barrel of his Smith & Wesson, and announced that congress "would cut Mr. Ferrin off at the pass." New legislation, sponsored by Congressman DeLay would make it a crime, according to DeLay, "to say anything bad about any company that manufactures anything." President Bush has said he would sign such a bill should it cross his desk.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Art News

New Show at SITE Santa Fe Features 26 Artists’ Statements, No Art

Santa Fe—Guest Curator Michael Brownstein, a tall, thin, elegant man, welcomed hundreds of visitors to the 2005 SITE Santa Fe Biennial Exhibition Friday with a grand sweeping gesture of his arm, as if he were inviting a fresh breeze to blow through the gallery. Brownstein has put together a groundbreaking show that consists entirely of handsomely framed, carefully-typed, 11 by 16 inch Artist’s Statements.

Visitors, at first puzzled, were soon circulating about the room, pausing before each statement as if they were regarding a painting, sculpture, photograph, collage, or installation. Brownstein was delighted with the turnout and eager to explain his intent.

“Too often,” Brownstein said, “the artist’s statement is relegated to a secondary position. I have been to exhibitions where you could count on one hand the number of people who stopped to read the statements. What happens then is the viewers will look at the work, engage with it, and often draw their own, mistaken conclusions. The actual work, you see, confuses the issue.”

Brownstein paused to watch two visitors stride purposefully from one statement to the next. “See how confident they are, how sure they are that they’re getting it! In this exhibition, there is no artwork to muddle the artist’s intentions. No struggle with meaning, no missing the point. Nothing to make the viewer feel inadequate.”

Critical response has been mixed. Several local critics have panned the exhibit. Richard Turpin titled his review for THE Magazine, “New Clothes, No Emperors.” The national art press has, however, been roundly enthusiastic. John Barnes, writing in Art News, called the exhibition “groundbreaking, cutting edge.”

“This masterful exhibition,” wrote Mr. Barnes in the October issue, “reifies the space of the always-already-absent “art object,” empowering the viewer, who is also the viewed, to colonize the space with an imagined object that suits ideally the intention of the artist, nee viewer, because the “object” is inhabited by and inhabits the public/private interface of the absent “I,” which is culturally overdetermined and therefore absolute.”

Joe Munoz, well-known Santa Fe art collector, was beaming as he left the exhibition, having successfully negotiated the purchase of one of the pieces. “ I bought the large blue canvas, painted entirely with a pallet knife, in the far corner,” he said.

His wife looked at him, startled. “Honey,” she said. “That is a red canvas, with a splash of blue in the lower left corner, painted entirely by dripping and splashing.”

“Whatever,” he said. “The work is ardently political and explores the artist’s struggles with the concept of reservation as home and the attempt to decolonize the always already colonized notion of ‘home.’ That’s what matters.”

“And it will look great over our sofa,” his wife added as the the two turned on their heels and walked happily out into the crisp early fall evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

U.S. Headlines

Presence of White House Duo is Evidence of Random Genetic Mutations, Lack of “Master Plan”


Poem, n. That which a poet writes and a reader puzzles over.

Poet, n. 1. A person who uses his or her erudition and vocabulary to exclude the readers he or she then chastises for being excluded. 2. One who experiences life more intensely than the rest of us and then makes us feel bad by writing about it. 3. One who values one’s own enterprise beyond all others, despite or because of the fact that the enterprise is not valued at all by anyone else. 4. One who makes small crafts out of paper and sails them on a sea of indifference.

Poetic, adj. Something that fails to be poetry by striving to be poetry.

Poetry, n. A narrowing of the prose for which there is no known cure.

Monday, October 17, 2005

This Just In: News That Stays News


Santa Fe--Kenneth Wurtzburg, a fifth grade teacher at Pinon Elementary School, sent yet another e-mail today without attaching the document he referred to repeatedly in the body of his message. Lois Walpole, a colleague and sometimes companion of Mr. Wurzburg, immediately e-mailed him, copying everyone in the Public School System, "So where's the attachment?!?!?!?" This was followed by a sheepish message from Mr. Wurtzman that ran under the title "Here it is, for reals." Other Pinon teachers, who wished to remain anonymous, say that this is the 43rd consecutive message from Wurtzman in which he forgot the attachment.

By Unpopular Demand: A New Poem by Chuck Calabreze


The truth about poetry readings is none of us wants to be here.

The truth about poetry readings is your friend knows the poet and that’s why you’re here.

Or your sister married the poet and you like your sister and feel bad that she has to go to all of his poetry readings and sit by herself.

Or the poet taught a wonderful workshop that you attended and he’s kinda famous so you dragged your friend and sister to see him so they could see that you know a sorta famous poet who will probably say hello to you and maybe even remember your name.

Or coming to the reading seemed like something you ought to do, like going to the dentist or watching the history channel or practicing your instrument or calling your mother.

The truth about poetry readings is you can’t wait for it to be over.

The truth about poetry readings is only the poet seems to be having any fun, and you’re not even sure about him.

The truth about poetry readings is you’re hoping the poet doesn’t start shuffling papers.

The truth is you’re hoping he doesn’t say, “This next poem is forty five pages long and is a modern retelling of The Odysssey.”

The truth about poetry readings is you’re trying very hard not to fall asleep.

The truth about poetry readings is you’re hoping there’s food afterward, but you know there will only be chips and salsa and sparkling water or—if you’re really lucky--a vegetable platter from Albertson’s with a plastic container of ranch dressing in the middle.

The truth about poetry readings is that you lost track of the last poem after the second line and no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t stop thinking about what you have to accomplish tomorrow.

The truth about poetry readings is sometimes you feel obligated to clap after every poem because everyone else is.

The truth about poetry readings is you think maybe you’ll hear fewer poems that way.

The truth about poetry readings is you’re conflicted because you think if you clap after every poem and the poet still reads his one hour’s worth of poems, you’ll be here all night.

The truth about poetry readings is everybody knows why the poet always says “two more”—so you can all relax, knowing that the reading won’t go on forever.

Because you all know but won’t say that you can’t wait to get to the chips and salsa and sparkling water and be recognized and go home.

“Two more”: Because every poetry reading is approximately one hour too long.

The truth about poetry readings is you were really hoping he’d say “two more short ones.”

The truth about poetry readings is you’re here because you’re a poet, too, and you know you’ll eventually give a poetry reading and you’re hoping the poet will see you at his and feel obligated to come to yours.

The truth about poetry readings is no one ever flicks her lighter and holds it in the air at the end of the poetry reading. Or drives home with the top down, a bottle of beer between her legs, blasting the poet’s poems on the CD player and reciting along.

This Just In: News That Stays News


Santa Fe--Mrs. Irma Walker’s fourth grade class returned from a nature walk in the Eldorado Wilderness “cranky and despondent” reports PTA President Patricia Chavez.

“Some of the children,” Mrs. Walker reported to the September 25 PTA Meeting, “apparently thought we were taking a ‘virtual nature walk’ and tired after a hundred or so yards. Others complained that giant, scary animals did not leap unbidden from behind boulders. Still others expected to be accompanied by electronically-produced safari music. When we did spot two mule deer in the valley below us, most of the children were disappointed by what they called ‘poor resolution.’”

When PTA President Chavez opened the discussion to the assembled parents, several reported a similar disappointment with the PTA Meeting itself. At least one parent thought it would be good if they could all eat “power pills” and grow to three times their size to do battle with such intractable problems.


PERFORMANCE ART: When a person of limited talents–-who can neither write, act, sing, dance, nor play a musical instrument–-stands in front of an audience of limited sense and fails at all five endeavors at once.

Business News


Seattle--After a recent survey showed that 98% of Americans had no idea how to deploy or read the semi-colon, Microsoft announced that it would remove the punctuation mark from its 2006 keyboards.

The semi-colon will be replaced by the smiley-face symbol. Nearly 99% of all Americans, the same survey reported, know that a smiley-face is used to signal a vague but wide-ranging feeling of good will and is correctly deployed on post-its and on brief notes, just before the signature.

Karl Lagerfeld, an inveterate semi-colon user, lamented that “certain subtle ways of thinking, of connecting closely-related, yet independent, thoughts would be lost should the semi-colon be removed from the keyboard.” Joe Simpson, a college student and Microsoft consultant responded, “No way. Nothing’s lost. Get over it. End of story.”

From the Archives


Afghanistan--Eager to “bomb Afghanistan back into the stone age,” pilots flying the first mission over that war-torn country returned to base dejected.

“Apparently,” said Art Howe, leader of the mission, “somebody beat us to it. They’re already in the stone age.” Howe briefly considered bombing them back to earlier geological periods, but decided to return to base carrying his full payload. “Stone Age, Jurassic, Triassic,” he said. “It all looks the same from 20,000 feet. It didn’t seem worth the effort.”

He spent the afternoon playing rummy with the other pilots, but held out some hope. “Maybe this bin Laden character will move on to some country with buildings and bridges and TV towers and railroads--you know, stuff that you can really blow up.”

From the Archives


Newark--On September 11, 2001, Rob Geiss and Tommy Ardolino were “doing some really fine bud” and watching “Good Morning America” after finishing their night shift in the warehouse at Scholastic Books when they were temporarily panicked by rumors of “scarab terrorists.”

Visions of gigantic golden beetles landing on U.S. shores, destroying malls and skyscrapers and crushing automobiles temporarily paralyzed the two, who have been best buds, according to Ardolino, for, like, five years.

“All I could see were these gigantic metallic beetles, like, stomping through the streets of, like, Newark,” said Geiss. “And, like, the National Guard’s weapons were, like, useless against them. And they had, like, lasers and shit. Whew. The whole thing sent me to the pantry for, like, two bags of Fritos.”

Ardolino was equally frightened. “When I first heard about the scarab terrorists, I thought, like, who woulda thunk it. I mean, we’re always worried about those Middle East psychos, and here come these big beetles.”

It wasn’t until after noon, when Willie Murphy, a co-worker, called to tell them about the alleged “Arab terrorists” that the two were able to calm down enough to stop stuffing their faces and get some sleep.

“As bad as it turned out,” said Geiss, “I’m still glad there weren’t any scarabs involved.” “Ditto,” said an obviously relieved Ardolino.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

News In Brief


Washington—Often criticized for his failure to act to curb global warming, President Bush revealed today that global warming is actually part of his comprehensive strategy to ease the burden of rising fuel costs. In his radio address, Bush outlined his plan: “With fuel costs rising and the costs to homeowners trying to heat their homes skyrocketing, the additional few degrees global warming provides will be crucial in making home-heating affordable. Our refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol sends a clear message to the international community that we will not sacrifice our citizens’ comfort simply to avert a global catastrophe.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

World Headlines

Shorter Lines and More Efficient Distribution of Food and Fresh Water Draw Thousands

Saturday, October 08, 2005


On Saturday, October 15th, at 7 PM, Christopher Hitchens, former Nation writer now right-leaning commentator for Slate, will debate himself over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The youthful, moderate-to-heavy drinking, leftist Hitchens will confront the portly, aging, besotted, conservative Hitchens in an event sponsored jointly by Harper's Magazine and the Heritage Foundation. Former failed men’s tennis player turned moderately-successful women’s tennis player Renee Richards will serve as moderator.