Month: November 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

Divide and Conquer

President  Lyndon Johnson meets in the White House Cabinet Room with top military and defense advisers on Oct. 31, 1968 in Washington.  Shown at table from top, left to right: CIA Director Richard Helms, Central Intelligence Agency;  Presidential Assistant Walt Rostow; Undersecretary of state Nicholas Katzenbach; ; Johnson; Defense Secretary Clark Clifford and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Nitze.   Along wall, behind Johnson  at right are Gen. William Westmoreland, Army chief of staff, and Adm. Thomas Moorer, chief of naval operations. Military officials behind Clifford at wall are unidentified.  Dean Rusk is between Katzenbach and Johnson but not seen in this photo. (AP Photo)

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

— Lyndon B. Johnson

The Best Show On WFMU – “The Gathering Of The Juggalos”

The Best Show On WFMU was a combination music, comedy, and call-in radio program that ran from 2000 thru 2013 on New Jersey’s free-form, independent radio station WFMU. Hosted by Tom Scharpling, it lived up to its billing of “three hours of mirth, music, and mayhem”. Tom would usually kick-off the show with songs ranging from Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles Last Stand” to modern acts like F*cked Up. After the music , Tom usually hosted comedians & musicians in-studio and took calls from listeners. Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster would frequently call the show as a variety of characters from the very fictional, very surreal New Jersey suburb of “Newbridge.” Frequent Wurster characters included “Philly Boy Roy” (an unflinching supporter of all things Philadelphia), “Timmy von Trimble” (a genetically modified, two-inch-tall racist), and “The Gorch” (a senior citizen from York, Pennsylvania, who claims that the character of The Fonz on the TV show Happy Days was based on him, without permission).

A year after The Best Show On WFMU exited the airwaves, the program returned as a streaming Internet show and can be heard every Tuesday from 9pm to midnight at

This bit from July 21st, 2009 is a classic from the old show. Tom & comedian Paul F. Tompkins discuss an ad promoting the upcoming Gathering Of The Juggalos, a multi-day festival hosted by Insane Clown Posse in middle of nowhere — Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. It’s the funniest 45 minutes in existence. Enjoy!



“Little Dennis And The Time Machine”

A short story in 100 words.

“What you got there, faggot?”

Dennis clutched the Walkman against his chest. “An old tape player.”

The bully lunged. Eyes fixed on the device, he didn’t notice Dennis’s fist. The punch crashed hard across his face. Bleeding, the bully regained his balance. Dennis quickly rewound the tape and pressed play.

“What you got there, faggot?”

Dennis clutched the Walkman against his chest. “An old tape player.”

The bully lunged. Eyes fixed on the device, he didn’t notice Dennis’s fist. The punch crashed hard across his face. Bleeding, the bully regained his balance. Dennis smiled, rewound the tape, and pressed play.

Advice from Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut addresses the graduating class at Fredonia College in New York on May 20, 1978. Taken from If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young.

I suppose you will all want money and true love, among other things. I will tell you how to make money: work very hard. I will tell you how to win love: wear nice clothing and smile all the time. Learn the words to all the latest songs.

What other advice can I give you? Eat lots of bran to provide necessary bulk in your diet. The only advice my father ever gave me was this: “Never stick anything in your ear.” The tiniest bones in your body are inside your ears, you know — and your sense of balance, too. If you mess around with your ears, you could not only become deaf, but you could also start falling down all the time. So just leave your ears completely alone. They’re fine, just the way they are.

Don’t murder anybody — even though New York State does not use the death penalty.

That’s about it.

“Toothbrush, Toothbrush, Toothbrush”

A short story in 50 words.

and then they quit their jobs and burned their McMansion to the ground.

Holding hands, their smiles disappeared as she mentioned they had no toothbrushes.

He got a job first. They purchased the essentials. Then cars, iPhones, designer clothes.

After another stressful work day, they exchanged glances, and then they

MC Hammer (Fall 2000)

During my freshman year of college, my friend Eric casually asked me if I had any interest in visiting his church.

I had no interest in visiting his church.

When we were sophomores, he asked me again. Before I could say no, he added “M.C. Hammer is going to be a guest speaker next Sunday.”

I was interested in visiting his church.

When I was 10 and 11 years old, I really liked this Atlanta radio station called Power 99. They played a lot of M.C. Hammer. By default, I became an M.C. Hammer fan. I liked “U Can’t Touch This”. I liked the song he did for The Addams Family movie. I even watched his cartoon a couple times.

While M.C. Hammer spent most of the 90s wasting his fortune on gaudy mansions, blinged-out cars, and race horses, Power 99 became 99X. My taste in music progressed with the new alternative radio format, and my teen years brought cynicism to the M.C. Hammer persona and parachute pants. The idea of seeing him in person, though, excited the kid in me. I couldn’t wait for church. Then I got sick.

I first felt the lump in the back of my throat on Thursday morning. By that evening I had a runny nose and bad cough. I barely made it through my Friday classes, and on Saturday I spent the whole day in bed battling what turned out to be a nasty case of the flu. A small part of me considered not going. The rest of me was more than determined to see things through.

I didn’t sleep at all the night before church. I knew if I did, I wouldn’t make it. I took pills and drank fluids to mask how I felt. By the time the sun finally brought the morning, I felt out of body.

The phone rang around 8:30. Eric wanted to know if I could drive us both to the service. He had a car and knew I was sick. I still don’t know why he asked and I agreed.

We were in my car and exiting campus. I asked Eric for directions to his church. “Make your way to the Interstate,” he said. “Once we cross town and get on it, it’s about a forty minute drive.”

I thought he was joking.

He wasn’t.

My hands trembling and grasping the steering wheel, we finally pulled into the church parking lot. I was sure M.C. Hammer was responsible for the lack of available spots. We parked far from the building. Once we made it inside, well-dressed young folk were standing around the lobby. Seizing the opportunity, Eric and I bypassed the crowd and made our way into the sanctuary. The room was spacious, filled with row after row of wooden pews. A slightly elevated stage anchored the front, and a theater-like black curtain hung from the ceiling. We grabbed third-row seats. As people filed in, I said something to the effect of, “I’ve been looking forward to this all week. I’ve been so sick.”

I’m sure Eric heard what I said, but it wasn’t for him.

The service began. A man in his 40s who I figured was the regular pastor approached the podium perched on the right of the stage. In a boisterous tone he wished everyone a good morning and launched into some general announcements. Not caring what he was saying, I glanced around the room to see if I could spot M.C. Hammer anywhere in the wings or in the front row. I had no luck.

The man finished his remarks that were brief but felt too long. After he gathered his notes and walked off stage, the overhead lights suddenly went out. Multicolored lasers cut through the darkness. M.C. Hammer’s song “Pray” started playing over the sanctuary’s speakers, and four high school girls dressed in black tights ran out through the center of the curtains. The crowd started clapping. I started clapping. The girls smiled and started dancing poorly.

“Ladies and gentleman!” An enthusiastic voice roared over the music. “It’s time to give a big welcome to…. M.C. Hammer!”

I want to say that everybody rose to their feet. I want to say that the crowd went wild as M.C. Hammer triumphantly made his way onto the stage, raised his arms, and soaked in the crowd. I really, really wish I could say all of that happened. Instead, everybody remained in their seats as a little boy who couldn’t have been older than eight busted through the curtains. He was wearing an M.C. Hammer outfit with chains and sunglasses. He did a couple of dance moves. He pointed to the air and for some reason let out a Michael Jackson yell.

Everyone in the pews started laughing like it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen. Some guy sitting a few spots to the left of me actually keeled over.

The sanctuary lights went back up. The little boy ran over to the girls and gave each of them a high five, and as they ran off stage, the speakers blared like the voice of God, “Ladies and gentleman, Little M.C. Hammer!”

I turned to Eric. I wanted to start cursing but instead started coughing. He immediately began apologizing and thought M.C. Hammer was actually going to be there.

I continued coughing.

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