The famous cabinet meeting at which President Lincoln read Artemus Ward’s “Outrage in Utiky,” to the great amusement of everyone but Stanton.
SOME DISCUSSION HAVING passed among our correspondents as to who might serve as Secretary of War in a Harding administration, it may interest readers to know that Harding is reported to favor Mr. Edwin M. Stanton, who has already served in that position under the late Presidents Lincoln and (Andrew) Johnson. Our informant says that Harding is impressed with Mr. Stanton’s gravity of demeanor, citing the case of the Cabinet meeting of July 22, 1862, at which Lincoln read Artemus Ward’s “Outrage in Utiky,” producing riotous laughter among all present except Stanton. President Lincoln then favored the cabinet with the first reading of his Emancipation Proclamation, but Stanton did not laugh at that, either. Mr. Harding believes that a man who can hear “Outrage in Utiky” without so much as a smile must be either very serious-minded or very mean-spirited, and both of those qualities are desirable in a Secretary of War.
VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Spiro T. Agnew gave a speech last night that one correspondent described as “full of incoherent alliteration.” Agnew, who has been dead since 1996, strayed so far from his stated topic (“The Presidency of the Senate as a Source of Supplemental Income,” according to the program) that some observers have begun quietly raising questions about his health.
A Fringe Party delegate from the Mexican War Streets was ejected from the convention for throwing bar peanuts at a Dispatch correspondent, whom he repeatedly called a “Yuppie freak.”
It appears that a whole batch of marshmallows purchased by Irv’s Bar and Grill may have gone bad, as several purchasers of multiple chocolate marshmallow martinis have complained of dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and slurred speech.
Tonight’s eagerly anticipated acceptance speech by Warren G. Harding has been postponed until at least midnight, following a worrisome confrontation between police and a dangerous protester or lunatic outside the convention venue. According to a police statement, a man identifying himself only as Irv, who is on the FBI list of known convention troublemakers, was demanding entry to the convention venue, and became belligerent when he was stopped three blocks away. The man is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, about 190 pounds, wearing an “Irv’s Bar & Grill” T-shirt. He is being held for psychological evaluation.
OUR CORRESPONDENT REPORTS that most of the past 48 hours at the Fringe Party convention have been taken up with the dull but necessary business of compiling a party platform. Among the more important planks discussed:
RESOLVED: That the Fringe Party shall stand for good things and against bad things. Accepted with an amendment specifying that the good things shall not be inordinately beneficial to the poor.
RESOLVED: That the problems facing America today are attributable mainly to immigrants: specifically, to Miss Yekaterina Ivanevna Perovski, who smells up Point Breeze with her strange cabbage-based cookery, and Mr. Randolph Tang, formerly of Hong Kong, whose perfectly manicured lawn makes the rest of Spring Hill look bad. Accepted with an amendment adding that the enumeration of certain immigrants is not to be construed as implying that other immigrants do not smell just as bad.
RESOLVED: That matters of public policy ought to be decided on the basis of the best evidence available. Rejected with some violence.
RESOLVED: That America is the best country in the world, and that Americans are the best people in the world. Accepted by unanimous vote.
RESOLVED: That this country has been run into the sewer by the current governing powers and the lazy shiftless layabouts who voted for them. Accepted by unanimous vote.
RESOLVED: That any statement of opinion looks more impressive with the word “RESOLVED” in front of it in capital letters. Still under debate at press time.
From last night’s opening remarks by Wm. Gondola Shedd, Allegheny County Registrar of Dog Licenses and General Secretary of the Fringe National Convention, held at Irv’s Bar and Grill in Hazelwood.
MY FELLOW DELEGATES, ladies and gentlemen, patriots all:
As I gaze out on your smiling faces, smiling with eager anticipation, or whatever it is, I am reminded of the story of the Irishman and his Jewish sister. But this is not the time for idle pleasantries. We are a nation in crisis, and only firm leadership can lead us firmly. Through the crisis, I mean. Esther, another chocolate marshmallow martini, please. Leadership is not born; it is made, I suspect in a factory in Indonesia somewhere. The Fringe Party is not the largest political party in America, but it is unique in the depth of talented leadership it possesses. It is also unique in that its delegates are all pairs of twins, which I am prepared to swear on a stack of Bibles was not the case when I walked in here. What’s up with that? Esther, another please. Good lord, there are two of her, too. In short, although I believe I may have skipped over something here, it is time for us, the true Americans, to take back America from those other Americans. If they’re through playing with it. And in conclusion, I would just like to say that this sounded a whole lot more coherent in front of the mirror last night. Esther, do you think maybe these marshmallows have gone bad?
A LONE PROTESTER was arrested at Irv’s Bar and Grill in Hazelwood, where police say he was attempting to interfere with preparations for the Fringe Party convention that begins there Sunday evening. The protester told police his name was Irv, but refused to give any other details.
IN HIGH-SCHOOL football, the Bishop Canevin Crusaders defeated the West Catholic Inquisitors, 21-18. This is the Crusaders’ second win of the new season, following Friday night’s victory over the St. Gregory Thaumaturgus Blessed Virgins.
Sir: Our infrastructure is in a sorry state. Bridges are creaky and dropping chunks of concrete. Roads are full of potholes. Sidewalks are crumbling. All these things desperately need work—and, in far too many cases, no one is out there working.
Yet, at the same time, Dan Brown continues to write more amateurish thrillers as if he were doing the world a favor. Why is he allowed to clutter up the literary landscape with formulaic rubbish when the Greenfield Bridge is falling down on the Parkway? If he has time to plot out a dozen more novels featuring Robert Langdon of Harvard’s renowned Department of Symbology, he has time to pour some concrete. No one really needs a ridiculous and contrived story about some centuries-old conspiracy involving the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the 4-H Clubs, but everyone would benefit from some maintenance work on the East Busway.
I call upon Congress and the president to see to it that our nation’s infrastructure is made our top priority. Let Dan Brown be put to work wherever an extra hand is needed. Let him spend as many hours a day on real labor as he would otherwise spend failing to make his verbs agree with his subjects. Our prosperity and our literary reputation both depend on it.
Address withheld by request
ARTIST RUPERT SLACKSTRIPE, who painted Cirencester beige, has been arrested on charges of simple assault after he attempted to apply spray-paint to five visitors to the Duck Hollow Museum of Art. Through a spokesman, Slackstripe described the charges as “a triumph of philistinism.” The spokesman said that the spray-painting was part of a work of art entitled To the Nth Degree, which requires unwilling participants to make its point. The misdemeanor assault charges represent a significant stylistic departure for Slackstripe, most of whose previous works have been felonies.