I hope you enjoy our introductory podcast. I’m FPJerome, and this is Pearl River Flow. Featuring You Can Throw Away the Things that You Use by Walter Young, from his 2008 album, Floating World.Read More
The Best of 2015-2014
Well, the year 2015 is in the can, it's been sent off from the garbage fires of history and on to the editorial desk, where future generations can begin to cluck their tongues, wag their chins, and purse their lips at the disturbing things that transpired during this cosmic journey around our dear sun.
So, as any lazy website would do, we've compiled a "Best Of" for 2015-2014 - all of it articles from Pearl River Flow. We included 2014, because we didn't do this last year, so it's only fair.
Most Popular Article: Its' My Mississippi Too, Asshole.
The Downstream has been a very popular addition to Pearl River Flow. It allows our readers, who may have tired of my incomprehensible attempts at humor and communication, to behold my terrifying and alien views of current events. It's My Mississippi Too, Asshole, was based on a nightmarish youtube campaign ad that's still up. Thanks to a mention by a vastly more popular website, IMMTA became the most-viewed thing on Pearl River Flow by a factor of ten.
Least Popular Article That I Thought Was Really Good: The Little Garry Story.
Right off the bat in 2015, I had this thing, here, which was based on a "true" story from late 2014, in which the whole "my kid went to heaven and we wrote a book about it" thing turned out to not be true. I therefore conjured up this, threw in a link to The Onion, which was probably my mistake - all the readers went on to get some GOOD comedy. Anyway. It's got some good jokes. "Blatherskite" is an archaic form of the word "bullshit," and anytime I used a word that started with the letter "B" the next one would start with the letter "S," and the first two words of each paragraph were "B" and "S" words, as were the chapter titles, and well, maybe it wasn't funny, maybe I just thought it was clever. Goddamnit, go read The Little Garry Story and tell me if you agree.
My Favorite Thing: Garbage, M.D.
There's no "explaining" a thing like Garbage, M.D. Go on and read it in the voice of Patton Oswalt.
The Most Reusable Post: The War on Christmas: Happy Holiday Edition.
Another gem from 2014, this one keeps being handy because people keep having stupid made up bullshit. That's also a good explanation for why I do the whole website, to be honest.
Thing That Became Dated the Most Quickly: Gay Marriage FAQ, Mississippi Edition.
I did this because our weasel-like attorney general, Jim Hood, was going out of his way to keep gay marriage illegal in the state of Mississippi. This was in late 2014, right before the supreme court paved the way for gay marriage in all 50 states (we still fought on for a few weeks) - in June. That's a long time in internet time, but Pearl River Flow is timeless. Eternal. Like the river itself. This dating became an intolerable itch in my conscience. It drives me mad, even today. Read the source of my madness, and recall a less tolerant time.
Most Popular Thing from the Newsflow: The FaceSitting Gap.
Combining jokes about face sitting and nuclear war has never been funnier! Before "It's My Mississippi, Too" ruined the top spot, this was the most popular thing on Pearl River Flow, mostly due to a large number of confused searches from the Netherlands.
The First Post of 2015: The Other Side.
There are several not-so-humorous bits (even if they do have a bit of black humor to them) on Pearl River Flow - tales of horror and weirdness, of THE CUBES! THE CUBES! and other dark delights. This was one of those tales. These tales are deeply unpopular.
See, I'd always wanted to include editorial and "news" in my website, since apparently everyone loves injecting their opinions into things directly, and not in my usual, roundabout manner through obtuse jokes involving first letters of sentences and all that tripe. And one of the things that bothers me the most about Jackson - and can be fixed without changing everything in the United States of America - is our dumb plan to dam the Pearl River and make a lake. Also, the part of the website that says "news" is satire, and the part of the website that says "downstream" is news, so there's that. Anyway, here's where we started with the Downstream, before it was.
I really liked the new COSMOS miniseries. I also really love Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth," so this mini-review wrote itself. The Mire is where I review television, sometimes. It's not very big, because I don't like television. But here we get a new Satan for a modern reader, musing on his favorite television series and just how much he and Carl Sagan are buddies.
Favorite Television Review: Bojack Horseman
Yeah, I don't have a lot to say about this, because I want you to watch the show, not listen to me jabber on about it.
Best Photo Collection: Less Depressing Vistas
This isn't usually what my website is associated with. More people would think of our gallery of abandoned shoes, or old bridges, or lost toys, if asked about the photographic contents of my galleries. Alas, this one got some of the better work in 2015.
Favorite Video Game Review: Fallout 4: A Postcolonial Critique of Postapocalyptic Analysis.
With such gems as "... Fallout 4 shows me the doomed psyche of White America..." and "the hyperviolence is problematic" I think you can see where this is going. But do yourself a favor, and just go read it.
Well, that wraps up 2015 and 2014. Let's hope that 2016 brings us another stellar journey full of wondrous things to throw into the swamp!
Center For Cube Studies: Pearl River Flow HQ
Time and date unknown
HEAD RESEARCHER: Garry Blatherskite.
It's possible that I was brought back from the dead just for this. But that doesn't seem right. I was only ten years old. I AM only ten years old, but the cubes change time. I have been doing this for decades. I am yet to begin.
Everyone thought the cube was just one entity, eternal, forever, unchanging, a Platonic form left to weather in the swamp of the Real. We did not think it could be broken. We did not know how many there were, how many there are, how many there will be.
Wrong, wrong wrong! We knew we were wrong, but we - I - just now discovered we were wrong. They don't even know yet. I haven't read the words I am about to type, I have not written them yet, but I have read them on an ancient terminal after the end of the world. They are written in the language of the cubes long after we are all gone.
They change. They multiply. Or divide. It depends on how you view the cubes, or how time views them while you view time.
Back to their mundane substance. Mineralogy escapes us, laser beams and chromatographs spout nonsense, give lines for nonexistent compounds. Hardness seems off the charts, but yet when the time comes for them to... reproduce...
There cannot be another word for it, for what these hexahedrons accomplish with the split shards, cracking along lines only visible in ancient photographs. They reproduce, like bacteria or yeast, each one a multitude dividing, and like these invisible architects, the sole actors on the stage of life for three of the four billion year history of the world, they have a way to... exchange information, a crystalline genetics unhinged by time, alien to the teeming forms of life on earth.
None of life is like them. All of life is like them. Was like them. We changed, became algae and mushrooms and ants and trees and plankton. They did not change. They waited.
Reports have come in. We can see inside the cubes, if we wish to go mad. Many members of the research team did just that, willingly peered into the stone stomata. In an instant born before they were, something was transferred into them, plasmid bridges bringing unfolding sheets and shapes. They saw inside, and they told me of vestigial things, symbiotic organs, impossible matter.
Their words turned into a song of screams, each one desired to have inorganic bones, they argued, not knowing if they always had crystalline fibers for hairs, if the iridescent colors of their skin were becoming more or less pronounced as the cubes rebuilt them, each geometric parasitic egg as flawed and alive as the human beings they had replaced.
I know the cubes will hatch. I know they have hatched. I am not old enough to have seen them in every backyard, appearing next to barbeque grills and water tanks, I know I have never watched curious children point to them at the zoo next to the stained glass panda, eating twitching leaves from the trough formed on top.
I am just a child. I lived and died and came back and I have died again, I see the statues of my coworkers frozen in delight, the joy overwhelming, and yet I see them wish for their crystalline fate. They want to be glass.
They are so beautiful, and I am transfixed by what they will become.
I will look inside. The statues that were my friends, the eggs that were my family, they tell me that I already have looked, I have heard the song of the cubes and it is beautiful. I have always heard it, in my mind, in those quiet moments at 3 AM when the noises of the world are all that is left. My mind is wind over broken time, carving canyons formed by our obsolescence. The cubes have always been here. The cubes will always be here. The only way forward is in stone.
The first cube was in the swamp. We are the last cube.
I am coming home. We all become.
- This strange transmission was found on a disused IBM 5100 in the PRF facility basement. It should be noted that Pearl River Flow has no "Paranormal Research Team," nor a "Center for Cube Studies." The owner of the computer, one "John Titor," was unavailable for comment, though one of the interns swears he was a reporter here. Whatever the case, we are on the lookout for any further developments of THE CUBE.
We sent an intern to intercept the man known as "Patrick Jerome," who has been masquerading as our own FPJEROME, during one of his supposed "Stand-Up Comedy" routines. We here at Pearl River Flow believe that comedy is best done by delivering people things that we find in swamps.
Our intern never returned from the viewing, claiming to have found "a better way of life" and also an employer that will not force him to fight racoons in dumpsters. What he sent in reply were the notes of the comedy set Mr. Jerome planned to do that night. We polished them up and have recorded them for posterity.
Uh, it is not about feminine hygiene products. Even though it sounds like it should be. Maybe it should. Maybe that would be more amusing.
This is my second time appearing at Hal and Mal's! It’s a great venue and you’re a great crowd. I want to thank you all for coming tonight, and listen, the last time I was here everyone had a good time, only one person cried, and that was my mom. She couldn’t make it out tonight.
Any single people here tonight? Man, being single now is so different than it was back when I was single. You’ve got your tinders, your grinders, your kindlers, your tumblers, your… wait, am I describing how to start a fire or how to get laid?
I joined a dating website once. It was called NOTOKCUPID. Yeah. It was all clowns. Just sad pictures of horny clowns. You couldn’t swipe left fast enough. “Down to clown” NOPE. “No juggaloes.” Well that’s great, but still NOPE.
I did get to go to an orgy because of NOTOKCUPID. Yeah. It was in the backseat of her car, but still. It counts.
I am married. Any married people out here tonight?
You can tell they’re married because they don’t care. Sounded like a pile of baloon animals deflating in the corner.
Two things went through the heads of every woman, and some of the men, in here: 1: “Whew.” 2: “Poor girl.”
Poor girl indeed. I married way over my head. I married a bellydancer. I don’t even have a dad bod. This isn’t a dad bod. It’s a dead bod. It’s a beach body. The kind that washes ashore on the beach.
Getting married changes you. My idea of a wild night now is to watch german documentaries, have mustard, liver, and onions, and go to sleep early so I can get up and play D&D in the morning.
I married a Texan. Texans are just like regular people, unless you bring up Texas or try to put anything other than meat and hot peppers into chili. They hate that. They freak out. You can get a special dispensation to put tomatoes in your chili, but you have to get the ghost of John Wayne to sign it at the Alamo.
I just had my wisdom teeth removed. My face hurts and now I want to vote for Donald Trump.
We got any Donald Trump fans out there?
No? Huh. Just me, I guess.
I’m not originally from Jackson. I’m from a small town north of here called Pickens. We got anybody from Pickens in the crowd tonight? No? Well sit tight, city-slickers. Let me tell you about PIckens.
Pickens is so small it doesn’t have a waffle house. There used to be a coffin factory there, but it went out of business, so now all they make is meth and dead people.
Pickens may not have a waffle house, but it does have a strip club. A strip club in a truck stop. And all you can eat wings on Thursdays. Yes, the truck stop strip club chicken wing buffet was the best place to be in town. It wasn’t the most sanitary. You have to be sure you don’t mix up your thongs and your tongs or things will get messy.
I don’t live in Pickens anymore. I’m here in Jackson now, I work at the Rainbow Coop, I do all their marketing, manage all their signs and their pictures and their social media. So, you know, my dad’s real proud of me.
Pickens is a small town, so I misunderstand some things here in Jackson. Like, I went to a food truck rodeo recently. I didn’t get any food, but I did hog-tie a taco truck.
I met some hippies there. I like hippies. I know, they get a bad rap. But, they can make milk out of absolutely anything. Quinoa, oats, almonds, hazelnuts, hemp - any kind of nut. I don’t even know what a quinoa is, but there is a barn full of vegans out there somewhere milking those tiny little nut-tits so hippies can drink milk.
A hippy told me, you can make vegetarian chili in Texas, but you can only flavor it with your father’s tears.
I met some hipsters there, too. Or as I call them, “urban attention seekers.” It can be hard to tell hipsters and hippies apart, you know? I have a test I use. You can’t ask them about music, they both have the same taste in music - they hate all of it, other than Tom Waits blowing Leonard Cohen, hobos yelling at trains and Julie Andrews, and Taylor Swift.
No, you give them some mustard. If they ask you “oh, where’s it from? Where are the mustard seeds grown?” Then, they’re a hipster. If they ask you if it’s got gluten in it, then they’re hippies.
What is gluten? It’s like quinoa. Nobody knows what it is. You’ve got to educate yourself. So I figured, I need to know what gluten is. I’ll turn on The Learning Channel.
...after eighteen hours of watching rednecks - I think I recognized Pickens on a few shows - I found out what gluten is. A guy on the learning channel found out about it on the mayan calendar, so you know it’s legit.
You see, gluten is a protein found in wheat. When it gets into your intestines, it dissolves into billions of tiny microspiders that crawl through your intestines, into your bloodstream, and make you vulnerable to alien mind control.
...I dunno if I can trust the learning channel.
People ask me why I do comedy. It’s because I’m a nihilist. It’s why I eat the waffle house.
You may think that a nihilist would eat at Arby’s, or at the truck stop strip club chicken wing buffet. But no. I eat at Waffle House, because on each Waffle House menu they print the phrase “you had a choice. And you chose us.”
I’m a nihilist. But I’m also an optimist. See, the thing is, one day we’ll all be dead, everything we do will be forgotten, no matter how many nights you spent watching hicks on TV or eating chili.
You've all been a wonderful crowd. Thank you very much!
- Readers of Pearl River Flow who attend one of these "shows" by Patrick Jerome can receive ONE FREE DRINK from him by bringing a piece of interesting trash. No wrappers or cigarette butts, please. This will send him a message from FPJEROME.
Our editor apologizes for not being as slow as he usually is regarding the updating. The problem is that FP JEROME is now doing a bit of Stand Up Comedy (all caps, it's that important) and as such, has seen his creative juices flowing to the side.
One of his less amusing jokes involves a down-on-his-luck hipster explaining the facts of music to an uneducated country boy, played by Ryan Gosling (it's more of a theatrical thing). He could not afford Ryan Gosling, so instead he gets Gilbert Gottfried to impersonate him.
The Gilbert Gosling Gottfried hipster explains the few remaining sources of authentic music. There are many variations on this theme, but most of them are entirely unamusing, and therefore have been thrown away.
We river hobos have found them. We present:
The Only Remaining Authentic Forms of Music
Hobos yelling at trains.
Leonard Cohen blowing Tom Waits.
Chronologically displaced jazz.
The sounds of sizzling fajitas, run through FruityLoops.
The moans of exploited minority laborers.
Old men sober.
Young white guys high on designer psychedelics.
Julie Andrews fitting the entirety of Thom York's body into her mouth.
Radio static. But, only college radio static.
Fingernail on a chalkboard, pitch shifted and given a beat.
Autotuned polygraph readouts from synesthetes smelling Austin BBQ.
Sacrifices to the ephemeral figments of chaos (except for the ones that they ran through Pro Tools, which is just pop-apocalyptic garbage)
Medical advice chanted by monks over the sounds of surgery.
Drunk white girls, flailing for attention.
We stumble across many failures in our meanderings. This was one such failure. Perhaps it was some first-draft effort of the company that eventually did the "dead child insurance" Super Bowl commercial. Or perhaps it is yet another run in of our staff with Werner Herzog.
All we can determine is that this was an attempt to sell produce with Existential Philosophy. Many marketeers are high-minded, pretending that their work is not intellectual murder. Often they turn to philosophy in some maddened grasp at something retaining a glint of the purity denied forever to them.
The copy for this quarter-page newspaper ad, set to run in fifty major markets simultaneously: We all must die. In the meantime, enjoy a tangerine. Struggle with meaning, not peeling.
Huge billboards featuring this photograph were going to appear along interstates in rural areas across the midwest and southeast. A smaller roll-out, in Arizona, was also planned. The accompanying text was in large block print. It said, simply: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Alas, she was the only one who could cure your fatal disease.
The grapefruit ad convinced our reporter that this was the work of the Allstate agency. This still is all that survives, but the video ad featured a pair of bustling grapefruit, once of which fell in half at the end. The voiceover was concise. "Eat grapefruit for your health. Live long enough to see your loved ones die."
This ad was to feature in-store samplings of strawberries, in which a box was to be featured in the produce department with a carefully chosen assortment of berries. A placard behind the box said, in large text across a blank background:
"The immeasurable magnitude of suffering is caused by the cruelty of others and an unjust cosmos. Only your actions can alleviate this pain. Therefore, you should try a strawberry."
Full page newspaper ad. TIME magazine. NEWSWEEK. Kale: Eat it in the hopes that you will stave off aging and you will wither away with the taste of dirty spinach on your tongue.
It is a shame, but no surprise, that these ads did not come to light.
Two things in life never change, despite new iterations. Anti-abortion activists, and Law and Order branching out into new, uninspired realms. Never have the two crossed, and now that they have, the result has gone directly into the trash where it belonged.
Alabama has been working with lawyers for embryos since 1987. It's about time someone dug through the Hollywood dumpster to find the script for the 2015 pilot: Law and Order: Fetal Attorney. The series was originally set on a riverboat, until someone discovered that the writers knew about as much about Alabama geography as they did human anatomy.
Someone did. And we found it. Fortunately for the sanity and excitement of our nonexistent readers,
Law and Order: Fetal Attorney
"In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two equally important groups separated only by a thin layer of tissue. The judge who tries to find a lawyer for the fetus, and the lawyer who represents it. These are their stories."
Thad Pickens Heinz is seated at his desk, leaning back in the expensive wooden chair. Around him are the endless and repetitive shelving full of books, all of which have golden letters in the spine. Despite this, the office looks a bit rundown, there's a decanter of bourbon (clearly labeled: Bourbon) on his desk, and the inbox is empty.
His attractive, blonde SECRETARY (execs demand that the name be taken out) comes storming into the room. The audio cue is HIGH HEELS CLICKING.
"We've got a client. It's six weeks old. Judge thinks someone's trying to abuse it." She puts the sonographs on the table, by the bourbon. The decanter is mostly empty, the tabletop has dried spills near the glasses. The figure in the black-and-white images is clearly that of a fetus, or, perhaps, an oddly shaped groundhog.
[PRODUCER: Can we get everything cleaned up? I know this is supposed to be Alabama, but we're contractually obligated to only use brand new fashion and incredibly fancy sets. Maybe something else to indicate they're in the South?]
Thad is SWEATING PROFUSELY. His SECRETARY has the top of her business blouse undone, revealing CLEAVAGE, and a hint of a blue bra. Her sweating is not as disgusting as Thad's, but it's there, like a sheen.
"Where's she being held?" Thad asked, getting his jacket from the shelf as he reveals sweat-stained armpits. The fan in the background is going top blast.
"Some new unit, can't be more than 15 years old. Judge wants to get the grandparents involved, unit wants our client gone."
"What can you tell me about the unit? He? She? Do we have an age?" Thad asked.
SECRETARY pauses before she can answer this question. The door opens, and overweight southern Judge Ashby Hogworth Corpendal the IV enters. He is SWEATING PROFUSELY. Even MORE than THAD and SECRETARY.
[PRODUCER: I understand that we're making sure we stick with the old trope of having evil people be unattractive and if possible, fat and sweaty, but ever since CSI hit it big we've been very adamant about not having any unattractive people on the show. Just make him sweaty and use something else to indicate that this is taking place in the South]
Ashby bursts in. Liquid is just running down his face and arms. Dripping out of his goddamn sleeves. When he points at SECRETARY, she gets splashed by water, which is good, because she's dry now.
"She's gone!" Ashby blurts out. Why he is wearing his black JUDGE ROBES is not explained, but it's goddamn disgusting.
Also, everyone now has an accent so thick that Rhett Butler would not be able to translate.
"There's no way a fetus can survive outside the womb at that age! We're looking at a MURDER." Thad says.
"No, not the fetus, the..." He pauses, purses his lips. This is not something he has thought of often.
"No, the other thing. The unit. The carrier."
"WOMB." SECRETARY says loudly.
The pilot was actually canceled midway through filming when two actresses burned one of the associate producers alive. The judge in the case let them go, citing their actions as "necessary improvements on the legal landscape."
The world has many jobs that no one wants. In the days of yore, people folded sheets of paper into something called a newspaper. But, nobody wanted them.
There was a schedule for the television programs of the day in the back of the paper. To explain this concept to someone who now has the internet and digital television would prove how awful the world of my youth was.
Regardless, this meant that newspaper people needed short synopses of the movies that would appear that evening. These short descriptions would tell you what you might want to watch.
Writing these was the job of some efficient wordsmith. Some were better than others, and those that were no good were thrown into a bag that was thrown into the river.
Where I of course found them.
Failed Movie Explanations
Jurassic Park: Programming errors cause birds to chase scientists who explain the situation.
The Matrix: A race of dream-granting machines suffer from bad batteries.
Up: Bitter old man loses his wife, kidnaps a child, and chases an endangered bird.
Patch Adams: An eccentric doctor makes his malpractice attorney rich through medical comedy.
Se7en: Theological scholar enacts a performance piece with unwitting bystanders.
Iron Man: Wealthy alcoholic battles board of directors with words, missiles.
Batman: Wealthy insomniac wearing leather and latex works out parental issues.
Happy Gilmore: Bob Barker stops raging golfer from insulting country club set.
Casablanca: Wry antiheroes drink, dance, and sing rather than fight in World War II.
Alice in Wonderland: Child discovers a psychedelic world after drinking from a forbidden bottle.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Lizardman is denied freedom due to excessive sobriety.
Scarface: Immigrant businessmen fall victim to drug related violence.
The X-Files: Quirky TV characters inexplicably inhabit a summer blockbuster.
Ghostbusters: Nuclear armed scientists torture dearly departed loved ones, endangering NYC.
Back to the Future: Maladjusted teenager avoids incest with his own mother, terrorists.
Superman: Alien attempts to impregnate human woman, enrages physics community.
Passion of the Christ: Jewish man tortured, beaten, executed for mysterious reasons.
Jaws: Warm water fish wanders into cold waters, is hunted by vengeful primates.
Fargo: Local car salesman participates in fraud after failing to sell undercoating.
Scream: Horror movie fans killed by horror movie fans in movie for horror fans.
10 Things I Hate About You: The Taming of the Shrew for people who can’t count.
Requiem for a Dream: Drug use is fun and educational for people who don’t do drugs.
Conan the Barbarian: Musclebound savage gives a bad haircut to a fashionable wizard.
Star Wars: Anti-government terrorists destroy a large spacefaring habitat.
Indiana Jones: Ruins-disturbing archeologist saves Hitler from opening arc of the covenant.
Stand By Me: Life of a leech is tragically cut short, people vomit pie.
Good Will Hunting: Janitor compromises national security cryptography protocols.
The Hobbit: Ewoks dance underground and leave a man behind in a cave.
Poltergeist: Excessive TV watching gives a little girl her friends.
Wizard of Oz: A young woman forms a monstrous gang and murders two mystics.
Spider-Man: Sticky teenager goes from a professional wrestler to candid photographer.
Alien: Rare hyperparasitic arthropod is driven to extinction by miners.
2001: A Space Odyssey: Monkeys find several black boxes, are killed by red box.
The Shining: Lonely man dies of exposure after a tragic murder.
The Firm: Lawyers are the only people who can stop other lawyers.
Gremlins: Irresponsible curio shop owner ruins Christmas.
Tommy: Jesus is British, and, importantly, beans are on Ann-Margret.