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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


John Fitzgerald Kennedy (left rear) with unidentified Kennedy family member (right front)


Meanwhile, His Autobiography, A Legacy of Doggedness, Rockets to Number 3,473,567 on Amazon

Hyannis Port, MA--Ted Kennedy, the most boring of the Kennedy brothers, died yesterday after a somber withering away that took several months. It was a fitting end for the man who kept showing up for work long after his more fabulous brothers and several fabulous nephews were struck down in the primes of their fabulous lives. Asked to reflect on his 46 years in the Senate, Kennedy was direct. “I wish I’d died in a fiery crash or at the hands of a lunatic assassin,” he said. “Then I’d be a hero instead of this old bloviator growing thicker and paler behind a conference table.” Kennedy voted “yes” today, the day after his death, on a bill he co-sponsored, authorizing Congress to levy and collect fines on overdue books held by public library patrons who make in excess of $250,000 per year.

Kennedy had several shots at an early, tragic death, but managed to survive a late night swim in a Chappaquiddick Island reservoir, a ski jump in Wyoming, a saddle bronc ride in Montana, a 1964 plane crash, and a night of heavy drinking in Palm Beach. Many believe he’d have been a more effective legislator had he died young and tragically. “It’s clear,” said Charles Bowden, Professor of Twentieth Century American History at Georgetown University, “that both John and Robert had a greater influence on politics from beyond the grave than Ted had from his seat in congress.” President Barack Obama agreed. “It’s always good to have Ted around, but JFK got me elected.”

Ted Kennedy’s autobiography, A Legacy of Doggedness, has failed to capture the public’s imagination, and the movie “inspired” by the book, starring the late Tim Conway as Ted Kennedy, was dubbed My Dinner Without Andre by Elvis Mitchell, the Times’ film critic. “Imagine that film,” Mitchell wrote, “without Andre–and, well, without dinner—and you have The Ted Kennedy Story.” Last minute attempts to “spice up the movie” with Ted, his son Patrick, and nephew William, jogging along Palm Beach “Baywatch” style failed to excite moviegoers. After a brief run in suburban Massachusetts’ theaters, the film went straight to DVD.

In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick declared September 1st Ted Kennedy Day and asked that citizens celebrate by “relentlessly plodding through their dreary, insignificant lives.” Those who felt ambitious and wanted to celebrate the day were invited to appear on C-SPAN to explain the workings of some unpopular, unsexy piece of arcane legislature to an audience of the apathetic and the hearing-challenged. Plans for an annual parade were sent to committee for further study.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Left: Former Michael Jackson manager Tom Mandible with his dog, Jacko, in his office "adjacent to" Rodeo Drive


Tom Mandible Advised Jackson to Die in Yearly Business Plans as Early as 2002

Los Angeles--Citing the 100 million dollars in revenue, the 100 million dollar movie deal, and pending deals for books, CDs, and novelty items--all since Jackson’s heart attack 48 days ago--former Michael Jackson manager Tom Mandible stood at Jackson’s grave Wednesday and said quietly, “I told you so.”

In business plans presented to the popular singer over the last ten years, Mandible had “strongly suggested” that, rather than tour or make a new CD, the singer should simply die. “Look at Elvis, I told him. Sure he sold some records when he was alive, but after he collapsed on his throne, the king was absolutely golden.” But, year after fiscally disastrous year, Jackson “scoffed” at Mandible’s proposal.

“The business model is solid. It starts with Jesus Christ,” Mandible said while he huddled in a Rodeo Drive doorway and dismantled a pack of crumbled cheese-flavored crackers. “You think anyone’s talking about Jesus this and Jesus that, the light of the world, all that, if he doesn’t die on the cross? You think he’s got any marketing legs if he lives to 85 and dies in a rest home on the shores of the Red Sea crocheting shrouds or whatever? No. Death sells. Early death sells absolutely. Write it down.”

Mandible, homeless since Jackson fired him in 2006, wears a single rhinestone-studded glove, in honor of the late singer. “No hard feelings,” he says. “It’s just . . . I wish he’d listened. I could have made a difference.”

When asked about Mandible’s claims, Jermaine Jackson, spokesman for the Jackson estate, was contrite. “Tom’s correct,” he said. “Michael considered the Death Option many times. He took it seriously. We discussed it, but it just seemed too drastic. It’s a big step. You can’t go with the Death Option and then say, ‘OK, that didn’t work. What do you want to do next? The Resurrection Option?’ I mean, that worked once, but what’d Christ have? Like, one book, right? We wanted something sustainable.”

Meanwhile other washed-up singers and actors, watching Jackson’s sales figures, have been seeking out Mandible’s advice. Tom Fogerty, a founding member, with his more talented brother John, of Creedence Clearwater Revival, is among those who have called. “Rather than do the casino tour, maybe this death thing will work for us,” said Fogerty. Fogerty has been on the casino circuit with his new band, Creedence Cleardaughter Revival, a band which features Fogerty’s daughter, Clamidia, singing the songs Tom's more talented brother John made famous.

Mandible is quick to point out that the “Death Option” only works for a handful. “Dylan,” he said. “Dylan should die. A few others. Madonna, of course. I’d advise Madonna to pursue the Death Option – after a steep decline in creativity and sales, of course. But I’d advise her to stop working out and to begin eating poorly right now, maybe begin popping some pills or whatever, to facilitate her sudden tragic end.”

Meanwhile, in London, surviving members of Cream have postponed a reunion tour while Eric Clapton considers the “Death Option.” “Clapton,” said Mandible, pulling his sleeping bag closer against the evening chill, “Clapton I would consider. It’s a risk, but he should call me. We should talk.”