Category Archives: Satire/Humor

Sermon on the Mound

CHURCH OF THE HOLIER THAN THOU, INCORPORATED

A for-profit religion where nothing is sacred, and human sacrifice is obligatory

 SERMON ON THE MOUND
Eve of 2007

The following sermon was delivered at a 2007 New Year’s Eve bonfire

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Dear Worried Souls:

Take Heart! the Worst is yet to come.  Witness this miserable mound of machine age offal.  Wasted resources compounded daily–advertising, packaging, junk mail, paperwork, broken equipment—a sorry heap of worthless Trash reviled by all.  The costs have become unbearable.

It does not live so cannot die.  We must dispose of it anyway, and we aim for the Sky.  We plead for help from the great Mother Earth and Father Sun. Open our senses to the stench of Burning Plastic.  Burn our Lungs with Particulates and Smoke. Singe our eyes with the Motes we scatter.  Spread sparks of Common Sense wherever Smog may go.

On this eve, the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated ignites this sacrificial pyre, in humble apology to the Planet we call Home.  As long as we can live and breathe on this speck of Cosmic Dust, we give Thanks for our Success and Vow to Make Sin Pay.

Thank you, Mother Earth, for deflating false profits and reducing their costs. Our debt to you is incalculable.

Thank you, Father Sun, for your clean nuclear power, the solar system’s eternal source of centralized energy output.

The Loving Lambs of Church of the Holier than Thou, Inc. have watched in Horror as the TechnoDemons befouled the Earth.  Their numbers numbed us.  Their profits (er . . . prophets) preached Winning by Losing, and promised Eternal Hell.  Machine Noise rocked the planet and rattled the Tectonic Plates.  We Bleated in Horror, Fear, and Rage, but there was Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.   We prayed for Peace and Quiet.

We sighed as they Drowned Porpoises, Paved Neighborhoods, Spilled Oil, Dumped Chemicals, Bulldozed Wildernesses, Polluted Oceans, Pipelined Tundra, Gobbled up Farms, Obscured the Stars, and Obliterated the Sounds of Birds and Breeze.  We cried for Mercy as Global Temperatures Rose, Tempers Flared, Ice Caps Melted, the Ozone layer dissipated, and Dynamite collapsed mountains and hills.  We watched Mutations and Health Problems Created for Profit and spreading like Cancer.  We searched in Vain for Recycling centers, Compost piles, and Locally produced goods.

This Mound of Refuse–papers, plastics, boxes, wraps, junk mail, bubbles, baubles and bills–represents countless Murdered Trees and Earthly Treasures that died for junk mail, propaganda, advertising, photo-ops, cellophane, and disposable containers.  Swallowed in the glut (er  . . . gut) of Human Consumption, these plundered assets Writhe in Pain.  Their pitiful Pleas reach us from Roadsides and Garbage cans, raising Taxes for waste removal.  “Stop this Plague upon our Souls,” they cry in tortured sobs.

We at the Church of the Holier than Though, Incorporated, know a Natural Solution when we see one.  We will find a way to uplift this junk into Something Useful, so we can Make Sin Pay.

Yes, the Savvy Saints of the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated have lit the solar flares, at last, but we are weary, wary of yet another trick, a Light too Bright to be Natural.  But Fear no longer.

The TechnoDemons’ Hot Stocks have Cooked their Geese.  The Gold weighs heavy in their Stomachs and Blocks their Bowels.  Take Pity, and sell them fresh Vegetables.

We at CHT, Inc. mean Business.  We will grow the Economy to Scale.  Green leaves and Roughage will prevail.  Put methane in cars, corn in stomachs, trans fats in wheel bearings, and soy in tofu.  Put the mercury back in thermometers and the lead back in batteries.  Shade roofs with solar panels. Generate energy from Landfill. Triple postage rates on junk mail. Clean the ditches with tax collectors. Hire prisoners instead of illegals.  Transform scrap metal to passenger trains.  Make synthetic hormones from oxidized plastic.  Sift sand for silicon.  Collect rain on roofs, or whatever it takes, to Make Sin Pay.

We Lobby you, great Mother Earth and Father Sun, to grant our request for Survival Skills Technology.  Light our way through the Sewers of Human Degradation, as we seek Natural Markets for these discarded Treasures.  We pray for a Healthy Return.

May Sparks from the Fire of this Pyre seed new Trees of Knowledge, wherever particulates drift.  Too cumbersome to be mulched, too poisoned to nourish, too diseased to be safe, this Trash has no Market Value, no place to Go but Up.

With a Match and a Blessing, the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated–where nothing is sacred and human sacrifice is obligatory– sets this Sacrificial Offering ablaze.  We Pray this Fire will spread Sparks of Enlightenment wherever the Smoke may Blow, and dispel the Mind Pollution that hides the Bottom Line.

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Skull & Bones

August 19, 2017
I love my journal.  It’s the best therapist imaginable, free, doesn’t interrupt, argue, talk back, gossip, nag, or second-guess.  If more people kept journals, the world would be a saner place.

Ten years ago this month, when George W. Bush was still president, I purchased a “Collectors’ Edition” of the US News and World Report on “Secret Societies.”  The following journal entry was my take on “Skull & Bones,” the Yale club that claims the Georges Bush as members, among other famous power-brokers

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Sunday, August 26, 2007
katharineotto.wordpress.com
writerbeat.com

I bought a “Collector’s Edition” of the US News and World Report.  “Mysteries of History–Secret Societies.”  It has articles on the Masons, Rosicrucians, Skull & Bones, and numerous others.

Skull & Bones, the secret society at Yale that boasts multiple notable members– including George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush–interests me only because it is an excellent example of a Good Ole Boy clique.  The article gives fuzzy details but for this:  Skull & Bones “puts its members through some strange activities and centers its program around ideas of death, power, and devotion to a goddess.  The influence of Skull & Bones is particularly noticeable in the area of public service, although it does no community service.”

I figure the public service is all done with other people’s money.  This is the plutocracy.  I wonder which goddess, or did they invent their own?  Is this some kind of Satanic cult American taxpayers have elected?  Is this the anti-Christ we’ve been waiting for?  Bush does walk around with a dazed look, as if he is figuring out he’s being perceived as the anti-Christ and doesn’t quite know how to play the role.

A skull and bones is the symbol for poison, so why would anyone choose to associate with a group that brags about being poisonous?  The flag that pirates carried?  I embrace life, not death.

Also, “Bones has each candidate recite his or her [?] sexual history right off the bat (September of his senior year).  By forcing them to share their most intimate confidences with each other, Skull & Bones binds its members together.”  Sounds like a cult of perverts, as well.  How does anyone know if they’re telling the truth?  Anybody ever refuse to join?

But America elected Bush, as well as others of this cult’s members.

What amazes me most is that anyone takes them seriously.  If this is what they’re learning at Yale, I withdraw my taxpayer contribution to education.

Secrecy is shame and shame secrecy.

The concept of Skull & Bones representing poison bears closer scrutiny.  My issues with public policy are strongly domestic:  The mis-management on the home turf, with poisons being pushed on people’s bodies and into the planetary ecosystem in massive quantities . . .

A more interesting article was about the Illuminati, an organization that may or may not exist, kept alive by belief that it does and that Jews are behind it.  Whether it exists is irrelevant to me.  The world is dominated by people who think they are smarter than everyone else, including each other, as current events show.  If they want to reassure each other that they are illuminated, just because they want it to be true, fine with me.  Just don’t expect me to pay for it.

Now Skull & Bones makes a big deal of public service with other people’s money, in true Plutonian style.

I would really like to know which goddess they pray to.  No wonder public policy feels like a gangbang.  Not enough women to go around.

I suspect they are all homosexuals and pedophiles, anyway.  Maybe the goddess they pray to is the one who can give them erections.  Someone more exciting than little boys.

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Their symbolism is interesting.  They adapt several masonic symbols having to do with building.   There are three “5”s in a triangle on their shield, which is a coffin.

They have west facing up – sunset – a 90-degree counter-clockwise shift of the south pole in a horoscope.

So that’s what we’re seeing on the world stage:  a group of self-proclaimed world leaders intentionally leading the world into self-destruction.  It makes no sense to me.

These people think they are smart?

 

 

 

 

It’s About Time: Bud, Beon, and the Bots

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Sunday, July 2, 2017—This is a scene from my novel, a decades-old perpetual work in progress.  Superficially sci-fi, it is based on a philosophy that life is immortal, everything has consciousness, and everything runs its course then evolves into something else.  Time and space are illusions within a “spacious present.”  Death is like a phase change–like water converting to steam–while retaining the essential qualities of water.  From this perspective, there is no end point, and the process is the goal.

The purpose of the novel is to make you smile.  Let me know if you want more.

CHAPTER 4

CAUSE AND EFFECT

The sun, shining through dingy, crocheted curtains, cast a mosaic of light and shadow across the worn rug. By the angle of the light and content of the shadows, Joe knew it was at least 11 AM.

His head throbbed with an intensity of 200 on a one-to-ten scale.  The light hurt his eyes, but he didn’t have the courage to move.  He remained curled stiff, eyes clenched shut, until his bladder forced him to attempt the impossible and get out of bed.

He moaned, then winced.  He eased to a slouching position at the edge of the bed, resting his aching forehead between tender hands.  Slowly, ever so slowly, he stood and staggered to the bathroom, carefully shielding his eyes from the light.  He downed two aspirin and then a third, to abort the stroke he must be having.  It was at least a stroke. Maybe an aneurysm had burst.  He stared into the mirror.  Images of his certain, agonizing, and imminent death spread like acrid black goo across his quivering brain.

“I’m dying,” he told his haggard face. It stared back at him—coldly critical, his appearance substandard today, even for him.  He and his reflection eyed each other.  He noted the dark eye sockets, red eyes, fuzzy vision, chin stubble, wrinkles, and greasy hair.  He didn’t smell too good, either.  Let the embalmer handle it, he decided.  That’s what he’s paid for.

He trod a wobbly path through the living room to the kitchen, where the percolator was full of yesterday’s grounds.  His stomach wasn’t feeling much like coffee, but his head told him he was in caffeine withdrawal.  He cursed Marian for getting him so drunk that he forgot to prepare the coffee pot.  He imagined her boiling in a vat of coffee, begging for mercy.

Suddenly, Beon’s face loomed across Joe’s inner screens.  The balding, round visage grinned like the Buddha, his eyes innocuous, his portent ominous.  Joe’s head pounded harder, and his knees felt weak.  An image of lab rats, pinned to boards and randomly shocked, blotted out Beon’s face.  Then, the lab rats became little Joes, with Beon delivering the shocks.

Joe listed the objective, measurable reasons for his agony.  Unendurable pain. Undetectable caffeine levels. Betrayal by his only friend.  Violation of sacred coffee ritual, and death without absolution.  Beon.  He threw fresh coffee in the pot, spilling half the grounds on the counter, creating yet another reason to feel miserable.

Percolator finally started, Joe turned to face new trouble.  He opened the freezer and scowled at empty ice trays.  The little Joes in his head jumped and slumped.

He dragged his failing carcass to the couch. He imagined the pain in his head could power a small city, if he could figure out how to harness the energy.  Not today, though.  And tomorrow wasn’t looking too good, either.

Beon’s face returned, and with it, thoughts of the healing machine.  Joe wondered if it could cure his headache.  “Yes,” said Beon’s image.

“Who asked you?”  Joe demanded, not realizing he spoke out loud.

“You did.”  Joe decided he was going crazy, too.  “DALE,” said the face.  “Diet-Associated Life Enhancer.”

Joe covered his ears, but it did no good.  Beon’s image swelled in his head, and dream pictures bombarded his brain, rocking his scientific foundations.  The throbbing and pounding got louder, clanging against his skull.  Joe closed his eyes and waited to die.  Through it all, Beon’s face smirked, as if he enjoyed Joe’s suffering.

But death defied him, and Beon continued to grin.  Joe glanced around the room.  A single picture, hung askew, showed a listing clipper ship, an artifact left by the previous tenant.  George White left a few pieces of tired furniture, too, good enough for Joe.  His mailbox in the foyer downstairs still bore White’s name.  When neighbors called him “George,” Joe didn’t bother to correct them.  It was as good a name as “Joe.”

Now Joe wondered for the first time what happened to George White.  His couch may not look great, but it had personality.  It was warm, comfortable, inviting.  It was friendly.  It was taking care of him, helping him feel better, as a friend would do.

“I have tangible evidence that you existed,” he told the former tenant, “even if we’ve never met.  I still get your mail.  Beon is only imaginary, but he’s torturing me, and I can’t get away from him.”

Joe’s eyes began to blur.  His stomach felt queasy.  Vague terrors swept over him, and sweat poured from his upper body.  He wiped his face with a dirty napkin and dropped it on the floor.  “This is only a hangover.  It clouds my perspective, makes me think crazy thoughts.  It was only a dream.  A machine like that is impossible, and Beon doesn’t exist.”

The Police State Board Game

bumpcountry2016I wrote the following political satire piece for my “Adventures in Living in the World as It Is” series in December, 2009.

THE POLICE STATE BOARD GAME
GoverCorp vs. You

In this game, players vie with THE POLICE STATE to get around the board with a minimum of hassle.  They win by overcoming barricades, set-backs, barbed wire, traps, concrete mazes, and other obstacles, to arrive at the point where they began.  Each player meets different challenges.

Tourists, travelers—and anyone who visits an airportmust negotiate airport security.  Cop an attitude and miss your plane. (Go back five spaces.)

Travelers, you can win this round.  If security drones mess with you, demand their names and write them down. (Skip three spaces.)  Do this loudly.  (Skip ten spaces.)  If you can get them to write their own names, skip ten spaces and win an extra turn.  If you miss your plane, call the media and yell into the phone at the airport until they find you another flight.  (Take an extra turn.)

Federal security personnel only have jobs because they failed reading, writing, and arithmetic in elementary school.  They’d probably be in jail if they weren’t paid by the police state  to fleece you.

The doctor and all health care providers with licensed signatures must file Medicare, Medicaid, and third-party payer claims; document everything done and not done; be there for everyone’s crises; listen to everyone’s complaints; manage their illnesses; and, when time allows, save their lives.

Doctors win by avoiding insurance hassles. “Oh, you’re having a heart attack?  Call Dr. Obama.  He’ll call me if your policy covers heart attacks. Oh, he doesn’t answer the phone at night?  You should have bought a better government.”  Then hang up and go back to sleep.

If you really have killed a patient, lose five turns and reapply for your license, if you decide it’s worth it.  If you decide to retire, get five extra turns.  If it’s a nuisance malpractice suit, go back five spaces.  You can go to jail instead of settling and skip ten spaces in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers have to maintain control in the classroom without using discipline.  Even a yell is emotional abuse in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers win by doing what they must.  Do not attract attention from THE POLICE STATE. Ignore it as much as possible, unless it is in your face making unreasonable demands, or if you’ve hit a child.  (Go back ten spaces.)  How hard? (If s/he is bruised, go back five more spaces.)  If there are major injuries, go back to the beginning and choose a different profession.

If you can teach the school board something about education, skip five spaces and get three extra turns. If kids enjoy school, the probability of your wanting to hit them, principals, school board members, parents, congressmen, or presidents plummets.

Developers, contractors, and builders must negotiate forests of permits, licenses, fees, city and county parents, planning boards, and the bureaucratic jungle before you can build.  Bribes and favors are the easiest way to do business in THE POLICE STATE.

Builders win by doing the job right.  (Lose five turns for each collapsed building.  If anyone was hurt or killed, start over and apply for a government job.)  Go back five spaces for every problem from shoddy construction.  Win by remembering pipes break on holidays.  You’ll sleep easier and won’t have to schmooze as many politicians in THE POLICE STATE.

Joe Blow, angry women, hot chicks, impotent men, red-necks, teenagers, bruthas—and everyone with with an attitude and a steering wheel—must negotiate traffic, congestion, stop lights, road safety hazards, other bad drivers, suicidal pedestrians, errant pets, parking problems, car trouble, passenger distractions, and other demands that have nothing to do with driving. Impatience attracts everything from fender-benders to fatal accidents, and of course, traffic tickets. Go back five spaces for slugging a policeman, even if he deserved it.

Tips for success: About that traffic violation:  Did anybody die?  Better show up in court. (Lose five turns.)  Anybody hurt?  Be there. (Go back ten spaces.) Anybody’s car damaged? Ditto. (Go back five spaces.) No damage to anyone or anything?  OK.  Just pay the fine, but you have a record now.  Watch your step, because every forward move counts against you in:

THE POLICE STATE

The Cosmic Improv Group Puts the Robber Barons in Stitches*

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HUMOR/SATIRE

by Dr. Kathorkian, an alter-ego of katharineotto.wordpress.com
Inspired by The Robber Barons, by Matthew Josephson, 1934, 1962

Monday, December 24, 2007 – I speak to others’ souls.  This is why I can nab JP Morgan in the Cosmic Commune and discuss his debt to society.

“Are you satisfied,” I ask, looking up from my knitting, but only briefly, so as not to lose any stitches.

 

“No,” says he.  “I’m miserable.”

“Good,” I say.  “You’re finally getting honest.”

“I always was honest,” he says.  “I named my three yachts Corsair I, II, and III, after all.  ‘Corsair’ means ‘pirate.’  Everyone knew what I was doing.”

“And no one stopped you.”

“No one even tried.”

“You made their chicanery look innocuous.  You were used by the thieves to cover for their less evident dishonesty.”

“I showed how easy it is to corrupt everyone.  They can all be bought.”

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Twenty dollars in pennies.  A penny buys a penny’s worth every time it changes hands.  If it changes hands 100 times in a day, it stimulates the economy more than a dollar kept in a wallet.  Adam Smith, author of Wealth of Nations, recognized the value of a penny.

“You haven’t named a price that can buy this free market capitalist,” I say.  “What’s it worth to you, to help fix this mess?”

“Everything I have,” says he.

“Well, you are morally bankrupt, and in so much debt it will take several lifetimes to work it off, so it’s up to you whether you want to be a New York City bag lady next time around.”

I go back to knitting.

JP Morgan sits, sweating bullets, but too embarrassed to remove his jacket, because he has severe BO.

Meanwhile, Andrew Carnegie is hanging around, hopping from foot to foot, waiting to be noticed and invited to participate.  I see his ankle is in a golden shackle, attached by a golden chain to a bejeweled shackle around JP Morgan’s ankle.

 

I invite Andy to join us, but make it quick, because I need to leave soon, to pluck the fruits of my cosmic garden, tax-free products that have grown without government help and in spite of favoritism to people like them.

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Pecan tree and Spanish moss

I know John D. Rockefeller is listening from a table on the other side of the honeysuckle hedge.  He is sneaky, doesn’t want to admit he’s interested.  He is slowly getting drunk and justifying his actions to himself.  Besides, he hates JP Morgan and doesn’t like to deal with him at all, if possible.  He merely wants to sabotage him.

So I count rows and stitches while JP and Andy unburden their weary souls. Rockefeller’s presence is known–he is bound to the others by his own shackle and chain–but he is not acknowledged.

Other Cosmic Communists are coming and going, but the three souls within range don’t see or hear them.  They feel alone and abandoned but for each other and me.  This makes our discussion semi-private, for their purposes, which is fine with me, because it eliminates distractions.

Andy is the most heterosexual of the bunch.    JP and JD prefer to sublimate sexuality to imperialism, so lust after domination for its own sake.  Because they are cowards, they make a show of being otherwise, in true reaction formation style.

“You become what you hate,” Buddhism states.

“Or what you love,” I add.

Suddenly JP and JD realize they spent their lives symbolically sodomizing each other and everyone else who crossed their paths.  Now they wonder why no one in the Cosmic Commune invites them to parties.

“You’re boring, that’s why,” I tell them.  “What can you do that’s useful?”

I hear JD comment on Rockefeller Plaza. I remind him he didn’t build it, it’s an insult to the people who paid for it, and it’s ostentatious.  Ditto for donations to the Met, Carnegie Hall, and Carnegie Mellon.  “You people wanted to buy love and respect with other people’s money,” I say.

So now we know Rockefeller is participating, too, even though he remains at his table.

“What about abolishing income and payroll taxes and the Federal Reserve System,” I ask JP Morgan.  “Even though you have no credit with me, if you help undo that tangle in this time knot, it might improve your seedy image and win you a friend or two.”

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JP gets restless and starts looking at his watch.  He hems and haws.  Andy looks on.  He has suddenly become very quiet.  Rockefeller pours himself another drink, and I hear the tinkle of ice against glass as his hands shake.

“Well, you boys think about it. These are my terms, for the moment, but no promises.  Things are likely to change any time.”

I poof out of their milieu and return to my cosmic home, where everything is free, and money doesn’t exist.

 

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Knoxville, Tennessee City Market, with Tennessee Valley Authority twin towers at far end. Kco0206

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 – Later, I revisit the area in the Cosmic Commune where JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller are chained together by golden chains.  This place reminds me of the “revitalized” Knoxville, TN City Market.  It is a wide, concrete wasteland with no human beings in sight.  The twin towers of the Tennessee Valley Authority loom over one end.

I have poofed myself a garden in this heat sink.  The garden has grown since my last visit.  Now, there are trellises and vines of roses without thorns.  Confederate jasmine, wisteria, and the like.  There is a water fountain, where birds drink and splash around.  The mass of vegetation creates the effect of a giant atrium, open to the breeze but protected from the sun.

 

I see Clarence Thomas’ higher self happening by, so I invite him to join us.  The older boys are impressed and a little afraid of ole Clar, because he is a Real Man, a black male, Supreme Court Justice, and Southern gentleman, despite what Anita Hill claims.  They want to impress him.  I show the chain gang I mean business.  CT is on my side, whether he knows it or not.

JP starts kissing up to Justice Thomas, explaining how taxpayers weren’t ready to manage their own money back in 1913, but he thinks they may have matured enough by now.  Ole Clar says don’t talk to me.  Talk to your boys on Wall Street, like Rupert Murdoch.  If you people can shape up real quick-like, we won’t have to embarrass you in front of your international friends.

So all these men start telling me how to pull this off.  They tell me to mail some of my improved-upon news clippings to Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, specifically my GE cartoon of CEO Jeffrey Immelt.  I should include a copy of my letter and GE’s 43-cent check SunTrust bank wouldn’t take.

So I say okay.  I’ll do it when the spirit moves me.  I’ve already started making copies.

Meanwhile, women are beginning to show up, because they like rich, influential men.  I’m fine with this, because I’ve solved enough of their problems for one day, and I have homework to do.  I poof myself back home, while they hang out and chitchat.

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