Lesser-Known Catholic Relics, Miracles, and Holy Sites

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The Coughing Statue of the Blessed Virgin: Situated in a public square in the village of Opatija, on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, this marble likeness of Mary is said to clear its throat loudly when people stop paying attention to it. Passersby have also reported hearing murmurs of “Hey! Over here,” “Stop fawning over that cheap Michelangelo knockoff,” and on crowded days, “Coupons! Free drink coupons!”

The Mostly Holy Rough Draft of the Sermon on the Mount: Contains seven previously unreleased Beatitudes, including “Blessed are those who speak softly in restaurants; they shall receive good service,” and “Blessed are the managers at Shlomo’s of Judea Hair Salon, for they readily accommodate walk-ins.”

The Immaculate Hot Tub at the Spokane Motel 6: Although the chlorination system has not functioned properly since 1987, thousands of guests have shared this Jacuzzi over the years without a single reported infection.

The Boning Knife of St. James the Greater: James was a fisherman by trade, and when Jesus fed the five thousand, this “original Miracle Blade” helped with the filleting. Since then it has been connected with several miracles, including the feeding of an entire Italian-American wedding from one stuffed flounder.

The Healing Spirit of St. Finbar’s Distillery: Made in County Kerry, Ireland, this 110-proof aged whiskey relieves pain and inspires ecstatic visions when consumed in sufficient quantities. Those who experience spiritual communion with Christ Himself are awarded a free T-shirt.

The Incorruptible Timex of St. Ignatius: Although this Benedictine martyr was buried alive, dug up again, drowned, boiled in fat, partially devoured by wolves, and then reburied in a peat bog, his wristwatch was still running when his remains were exhumed in 1931. This is doubly astounding, since Ignatius died several centuries before wristwatches were invented.

The Miraculous Lucky Strike of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: Smoked continuously for thirty-one years by Monsignor John Carroll of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, this unfiltered cigarette burns perpetually but is never consumed.

The Tangentially Blessed Hotel Bar of Palermo: Located in the Marriott-owned Bellavista Suites, this casual nightspot is mildly revered because the weekend bartender, Carlito, has a sister-in-law whose great-aunt went to the same grade school as Saint Bernadette.

The Latent Stigmata of Glenn Taubes, Canadian Postal Clerk: Described by his Ottawa, Ontario friends and neighbors as a “very nice man,” Taubes suffers occasionally from medically inexplicable cramps in the hands and feet, accompanied by a “sharp, poking sensation” in his right side.

The Divine Message at Charles Schwab, LLC: On December 12, 1999, the figure of Christ appeared to Matthew Kartali, a senior partner in the Atlanta office of the international brokerage firm. “For My sake, do not invest further in telecommunications, for thy earnings shall be vanquished,” the Lord reportedly said. “Liquidate thy holdings from the NASDAQ and take refuge in real estate and government bonds, and you shall be spared the pain of the coming Apocalypse.” Kartali was later indicted for insider trading.

The Mystery of the Holy Intersection: Fifteen miles outside Lubbock, Texas lies the junction of Highway 631 and Old Dallas Pike, which, when viewed from overhead, uncannily resembles the sign of the Cross.

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Inside Blurb For The Forthcoming Short Story Collection What Was What, What Wasn’t By Jonas Ribb, Acclaimed Master Of The Form

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What Was What, What Wasn’t by Jonas Ribb contains thirteen startling stories that bear witness to the lives of Americans in our time.

In “Indecision,” a tale that reflects Ribb’s profound understanding of contemporary reality, an adulterous chiropodist realizes that the Midwestern college town in which he has lived all his life is in fact made out of marzipan.

“A Story of Domestic Life” has basically the same plot, except that this time the town turns out to be made of chocolate malt.

In “Oklahoma Dreaming,” nothing happens at all.

“Marzipan Aardvark” shows the unexpected gift of a marzipan aardvark forcing a New York couple to confront their incompatibility. The wife claims to be allergic to marzipan, while the husband, refusing to believe her, drags her to the Spanish hill city of Toledo, famous for its marzipan and its swords, and beheads her. These events are memorably portrayed through the eyes of some Cuban adolescents who are discovering their burgeoning sexuality.

In the widely anthologized “Who Will Navigate?” a man who may or may not be in Utah agonizes over his inability to forget the past.

“Stuck in Traffic,” short-listed for Best American Stories Ending With Unexpected Poolside Epiphanies 2004, is a marvel of nuance in which a man becomes aware that his dog is involved with a cat. The story ends with an unexpected poolside epiphany.

In “Losing My Car Keys,” a frustrated librarian who harbors an unspeakable secret makes a date with a cop who harbors a different secret, or perhaps the same one, we never find out, because instead of showing up they both stay home and watch “Desperate Housewives.”

“Maybe You Had To Be There” describes a man crossing a Midwestern street who sees a woman coming towards him and briefly thinks he recognizes her.

In “In The Oven,” a depressed woman tries to cheer herself up by baking some cookies.

As “What I Knew About the Hudsons” unfolds, the problems in the Hudsons’ marriage are deftly symbolized by a succession of aardvarks fired into their house by the couple’s neighbor Hank, a plain-spoken taxidermist who at the story’s beautifully wrought conclusion states his hard-won wisdom, “Some people just plain needs aardvarks thrown at ’em.”

With his next story, Ribb changes the tone of the whole collection. Controlled in its narration, spare and almost brutal in its honesty, encompassing within the perfection of its form the death and resurrection of a Siamese kitten, “Messiah Kitty” is not a story to read late at night if you’ve ever crucified a cat.

The remaining stories in the collection, penned in the last stages of Ribb’s long personal battle with alcoholism and published here for the first time, show us characters living with the aftereffects of war and repression. For example, in “Mrs. Slocum’s Pussy” a baffled undercover al Qaeda operative struggles to comprehend endless reruns of Are You Being Served?

And resolutely examined in the unnerving title novella “What Was What, Was Wasn’t” is the gradual disintegration of a marriage while both spouses are stuck in traffic someplace else. There’s also an adolescent in the mix, whose sexuality seems about to burgeon until Hank deep-sixes him with a frozen pangolin.

Piecing apart his characters’ pretensions with affection and frankness, in prose that is both luminescent and lush, Ribb is the writer to turn to any time you feel the need to wrestle with a sense of inconsolable loss. Obscure without ever being abstruse, Ribb transports us to a world peopled with normal men and women who’re struggling to understand what’s going on…or, as in the case of “Oklahoma Dreaming,” what’s not going on.

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Selected Recipes By My Former Housemates
A work of fiction. I repeat: fiction.

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Skip’s Famous Spaghetti

For six months, do not lift a finger to purchase, prepare, serve or clean up after any meals served in the supposedly communal house where you rent a room, whose residents have informally but solemnly agreed to contribute to meals on an equal basis.

After allowing this time to pass, announce with great pomp and ceremony that you’re going to make dinner for everyone and that you’re going to take care of everything, so everyone can just sit back and relax and get ready for the dinner of their life. Yes, you are going to make: Your Famous Spaghetti.

Instructions:

Order one housemate to set the table, another to chop an onion, another to seed and chop a green pepper, another to mince two cloves of garlic and another to get you a beer.

Now then.

Boil water in a medium-sized pan.

Put dry spaghetti in pan.

Realize that pan is too small.

Remove spaghetti.

Pour water into another pan, bring back to boil.

Put damp spaghetti in pan.

Realize that pan is too small.

Break spaghetti into thirds or fourths to fit into pan.

In a frying pan, saute onion, pepper and garlic in two tablespoons of butter for three minutes.

Add 1 lb ground beef and saute for three more minutes.

Pour 1 large can tomato sauce over vegetable-beef mixture and stir.

Bring sauce to a violent boil, allowing it to splash all the hell over the place.

Order housemate to clean up splashes every few minutes, because in order to make Your Famous Spaghetti you need “a nice clean kitchen.”

Do not turn down heat under sauce.

Order other housemate to make garlic bread.

And get you another beer while he’s at it.

Add salt, pepper and pinch of oregano to sauce.

Hint: While cooking, brag constantly about how great your spaghetti is and how crappy all meals made by your male housemates always are.

Drain spaghetti in sink using regular table fork to hold it back as water pours out.

Allow most of spaghetti to fall into sink.

Order housemate to rinse pepper seeds, onion skins, coffee grounds and whatnot off spaghetti and place on serving platter.

Pour sauce over spaghetti.

Serve with canned “grated parmesan.”

Enhance meal with constant reminders of how good it is.

Order housemates to clear table and wash dishes.

After serving, do not lift a finger in the kitchen for six months, reminding everyone daily about how you “just made Your Famous Spaghetti.”

Pete’s E-Z-Pizza

Great for parties!

Line a large, flat, buttered baking tray with slices of white bread.

Hint: For an extra-fancy pizza, cut off the crusts!

Using a spatula, spread a thick layer of ketchup over bread.

Now add your favorite toppings: olives, sliced frankfurters, pickles, raisins, peanuts, etc.

Spray on generous layer of aerosol cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Bake in medium-hot oven for 15 minutes (optional).

Serve with plenty of beer, and…

Letare i buoni tempi rolare!

Tanya’s Chocolate Chip Cookies For You Guys

Before undertaking this recipe, conduct thorough census of housemates to make sure that everyone really likes chocolate chip cookies, because you “never eat them — they’re for you guys.”

Ingredients:

3 sticks butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 lb chocolate chips

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp shortening

Grease large baking sheet with shortening.

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

Cream butter into sugar.

Taste.

Blend butter-sugar mixture, flour, slightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, salt and chocolate chips in large bowl.

Taste.

Taste.

Form small uniform mounds of dough, depending on desired size of cookies, and arrange half of them on baking sheet.

Arrange other half in your mouth.

Place sheet on middle shelf of oven and bake for 15 min.

Allow cookies to cool for half an hour, the last 20 minutes of which take place in your stomach.

Holly’s Holy Health Roll

Ingredients:

No beef (mad cow disease)

No chicken (cruel)

No lamb (cute)

No pork (gross)

No fish (pollution)

No seafood (hepatitis)

No eggs (salmonella)

No corn or soybeans (GMOs)

No onions or garlic (halitosis)

No legumes (flatulence)

No oil (fattening)

No sugar (fattening)

No dairy (fattening)

No salt (not sure why)

Chop other ingredients finely and mix in large bowl.

Complain loudly and at length about how nobody ever eats anything healthy around this stupid place.

Blend mixture well and bind with 3 tbsp flour.

Chain-smoke throughout this process, alternating tobacco with marijuana as desired.

A little ash in mixture is OK.

In fact good.

Probably.

Complain loudly and at length about quality of cooking utensils around this stupid place.

Shape mixture into a cylinder, place on no-stick lousy baking tin and place on middle shelf of piece-of-crap oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or five cigarettes.

During baking, complain loudly and at length about dimness of worthless lightbulb in piece-of-crap oven, your goddamn backache, how you can’t shake this freakin’ cold and how that jerk Steve never calls you any more.

Remove roll from oven.

Cut into slices and serve, carping stentoriously and incessantly about people who eat “carrion,” “bait” and “roadkill.”

Hint: This dish seems to come out better if you maintain a grim, determined look on your face at all times. Not just while preparing it — at all times.

Josh’s Thanksgiving turkey

Do not consult housemates.

Invite every single person you know to your house for Thanksgiving dinner.

Late in afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, go to only open convenience store and buy cheapest frozen turkey they have left, regardless of its weight or expected number of guests.

Thaw turkey by placing it on back seat of car for drive home.

Place turkey in large, deep roasting pan.

Stare at turkey for 30 minutes or until house is full of guests.

Call mother.

Follow mother’s instructions, more or less, to stuff, truss and roast turkey, basting regularly.

To baste:

Remove turkey from oven using worn, thin dishrag as a potholder, ignoring thick, heatproof oven mitts hanging on wall next to oven.

Sustain first-degree burns to fingers while placing pan on stovetop.

Baste turkey with teaspoon and return it to oven.

Repeat without variation every fifteen minutes throughout cooking process.

Towards midnight, give up on deciding whether turkey is done or not.

To carve:

Hack at turkey with a succession of random knives of varying lengths and degrees of sharpness until it looks as though it has been run over with a lawn mower.

Serve to anyone still present and conscious.

Frank’s “Tumor or Trichinosis” lemon pork chops

Ingredients:

8 pork chops

1 qt tequila

4 tbsp butter

6 oz Triple Sec

2 lemons

6 limes

Salt

Dash of bitters

Salt

Slice through rim of fat around pork chops in several places so they will not curl up while cooking.

Juice limes.

Pound pork chops with meat hammer to tenderize them.

Mix tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and bitters in large pitcher and top off with crushed ice.

Arrange pork chops in large buttered baking pan.

Add salt to rim of glass and have a margarita to check proportions.

Adjust proportions.

Cut one lemon into thin slices so you have one slice for each pork chop.

Have margarita to recheck proportions.

Juice other lemon.

Have margarita and then serve margaritas to guests.

And self.

Preheat oven to any setting between 280 degrees and “Clean.”

Drink remaining margaritas straight from pitcher.

Find pork chops.

Slosh with lemon juice.

Sprinkle with herbs and spices chosen and dosed at random.

Drop handful of lemon slices on top of pork chops and toss pan in oven.

Stand at sink for 15 to 55 minutes, swaying slowly left to right.

Place burning hot pan containing way undercooked or way overcooked pork chops directly on wooden table.

Leave table and allow guests to serve selves.

Stagger around backyard hurling for five hours, or until guests are gone.

Karen’s “Tex-Schmex” fajitas

Grill thin slices of chicken breast, strip sirloin and chorizo.

Get timing just right so that meat is tender and juicy.

Season with improvised mixture of spices that brings out full flavor so that eating this dish is like tasting in color after a lifetime of tasting in black and white.

Garnish with finely shredded romaine lettuce, chopped jalapeno peppers, grated sharp Monterey Jack cheese, dollops of sour cream and imported hot sauce (optional).

Serve with soft, fragrant steamed flour tortillas.

Serving suggestion: Prepare this dish and a seemingly unending stream of equally delectable recipes for housemates several nights a week, remaining at all times witty, intelligent, cheerful and charming, with strong undercurrent of smoldering sexiness, until all men in house are so in love with you they have blind staggers. Repeat for six months while remaining single. Then meet homeless, out-of-work rock drummer at supermarket and leave town with him next day. Never be heard from again.

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Tonight on Charlie Rose:
Kipling Czszyszwicz,
Famous Monosyllabist

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CHARLIE ROSE (STARES AT CAMERA): It’s been said that the moment you say you’re monosyllabic, you no longer are. For centuries they’ve been called snippies, creeps, and really bad spouses, but today’s monosyllabic individuals — or “M’s,” — are a force to be reckoned with, thanks to the Union for the Health and Humane Management of Monosyllabism. You may have never heard of UHHMM, and its members can’t say what the initials stand for, but that hasn’t stopped it from permeating every crack in the American sociopolitical sidewalk, and tonight at this table, it’s UHHMM’s Executive Director — or Chief, as he calls himself — Kipling Czszyszwicz, here to discuss politics, culture, and the ever-growing power of really small words.

CR: (TURNS TO GUEST) Welcome to the broadcast.

KIPLING CZSZYSZWICZ: Thanks. Call me Kip.

CR: You’re a monosyllabist. You’re monosyllabic. This means what?

KC: I can’t say big words.

CR: And this is something you were born with — it’s a medical condition.

KC: Yes.

CR: You can’t say your last name.

KC: Nope. Can you?

CR (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST): There’s been some — it’s been said that — there’s research out there that says monosyllabism — that this is, this is a highly treatable psychosomatic condition, but you yourself — even though (SLAPS TABLE), even though multisyllabism enables communication to move beyond quasi-verisimilitude towards a more fluid, integrated hypercontextuality within the signal/signifier construct, you yourself haven’t — you have not — sought treatment. Why not?

KC: Chicks dig it.

CR: Fair enough. I just finished reading your autobiography, Hey. Just a great read. A quick read.

KC: Thanks.

CR: Walk me through the chronology. You take over UHHMM in the eighties, it’s a struggling nonprofit, and you realize, you realize there’s money to be made. You begin consulting. In politics…

(AWKWARD SILENCE)

KC: Yes.

CR: In Hollywood…

KC: Yes.

CR: Arnold Schwarzenegger…

KC: “I’ll be back” — that was us. He still says it. We still get a fee.

CR: Walter Mondale. “Where’s the beef…”

KC: That had legs. For a while.

CR: George Herbert Walker Bush…

KC: “Line in the sand”…”Read my lips”…”This will not stand”…All ours. Good times.

CR: Nike…”Just Do It”…a moment in the culture, the epitome, the apogee, a zenith, an epiphany — who you are, what you’re about, a symbiosis, a convergence of — what?

KC: (NODS) Yes.

CR: (SHAKES HEAD) Yes?

KC: (NODS) Yes.

CR: Tom Cruise…

KC: (SMILES) Top Gun.

CR: Groundbreaking cinema…

KC: (SMILES) Great flick.

CR: The nineties…Jennifer Lopez. Makes the leap…J. Lo…what did that do?

KC: That was all her, but God bless. We sent her a Jag.

CR: (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST) Keanu Reeves. What happened?

KC: It’s sad. “Whoa” was ours. Now he won’t take our calls. We’re in court.

CR: You did Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels with Guy Ritchie?

KC: No. Just Snatch.

CR: You came up with the title Good Will Hunting

KC: Two thirds of it.

CR: And this past election, you worked with Howard Dean…

KC: Sure. Great guy. We helped with the scream.

CR: And George W. Bush…

KC: Yup. “Stay the course.” We worked with Rove. Love that guy.

CR (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST): So you’re bipartisan?

KC: We go with the dough.

CR: But you didn’t work with John Kerry.

KC: Good hair, bad vibe. The war thing. Talked too much. And his wife is nuts.

CR: And now here you are — UHHMM is a huge, huge organization. Big names, massive membership, offices in Prague, Minsk, Bern, and Nome, headquarters in Burke, VA, and $200 million in the bank.

KC: We get by.

CR (SMACKS TABLE): Two hundred million? Tom Hanks, Seal and Kate Moss as your spokespersons? C’mon.

KC: What can I say? It’s tight. We’re crunked.

(MUTUAL GUFFAW)

(AWKWARD SILENCE)

CR: And now you’re diversifying into other media…

KC: We have a share of House, The L Word and The Wire, we own part of Elle, Gear, Stuff and O. We’re in talks with E!, and we just signed Air, Cher, Sting, Prince, The Hives, The Strokes, The Doves and Blur. Plus, we do tons with Fox News.

CR: And you’re talking with The Polyphonic Spree, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and Deathcab for Cutie.

KC: Um, no. We’re not down with them.

CR: (SMACKS TABLE AND LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST) Look, this is what gets me about your organization — there are people who are monosyllabic by choice. Thousands and thousands of them.

KC: Yes. Lots.

CR: (ADOPTS HUSHED TONE) You have an immersion program for people who want to become monosyllabic.

KC: You bet. Six weeks. Fall term. Pass-fail. Dorms, lunch, meds, the whole thing.

CR: Broadcasters, celebrities, athletes, Dick Cheney — I mean, everywhere you look — monosyllabism is very, very hip.

KC: It helps with sound bites.

CR: But what about this notion — people are saying — UHHMM has been accused of not promoting strict orthodox monosyllabism. You’ve been heard using contractions, hyphens, acronyms, abbreviations, what have you. What about that?

KC: Who says?

CR: Moms Understanding Monosyllabism.

KC: Look, MUM hates us. I mean, I can say the name of my good friend Jay-Z, and they can’t. They should get with the times.

CR: (SMACKS TABLE) But, but the Journal of the American Medical Association has accused you of exploiting a treatable medical pathology for money, power, and cocktails with supermodels. What do you say to the notion that UHHMM is just a moneygrubbing Machiavellian mirage?

KC: Please. I mean, I read that mag, I read and I read, and it’s just lots of big words, and…what? I don’t get it. Do you? I mean, they just had that thing with that pill, right?

CR: (SMACKS TABLE) What — you mean Vioxx? That wasn’t JAMA. That was the FDA and —

KC: — same dif.

CR: (SMACKS TABLE) No, not same dif, Mr. Czszyszwicz. That’s a completely separate issue, one that’s not within the purview of this broadca —

KC: — look, I’ve got drinks with Eve in five, so, womb to tomb, keep it deep, and please, call me Kip. I’m out. Peace.

CR: (FACES CAMERA) Kipling Czszyszwicz, for the hour. Thank you for watching…

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Hot NYC Neighborhoods, 2013

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Dubuque

Time to midtown: 3 hour flight, then 1 hour on the M60 bus from LaGuardia

Favorite Haunt: Oky Doky Food Mart on West 1st Street

Rants and Raves: Loyalists love Dubuque’s “small-town feel,” sweetened by the “super-cheap rents” (a one-bedroom in a doorman building averages $525 per month); other pluses include “good public schools” and “awesome corn.” Naysayers lament the “homogenous, vaguely Midwestern population” and say “good luck finding a decent Sri Lankan restaurant.”

The East River

Time to midtown: 25 minutes swimming with the current, 45 against; longer in droughts

Favorite Haunt: Buoy #69452

Rants and Raves: “Astounding views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens” are yours for the taking in this “ultra-convenient” location, “less crowded than the Hudson” and without the direct impact of New Jersey’s sewage. And you can count on constant change here — one reader says “you’ll never step in the same river twice.” Drawbacks: residents complain of “damp” conditions and “constant flooding;” the E.R. also tops our list of ‘hoods that are “bad news for people in wheelchairs.”

ReLiTER (REar of the LIncoln Tunnel Electrical Room)

Time to midtown: 5 minutes

Favorite Haunt: Behind the fuse box

Rants and Raves: Look out, Dumbo and Nolita: Reliter is catching up fast, thanks in no small part to being “spitting distance from the theater district” and “completely impervious to weather in all its forms.” But don’t move here if you’re bothered by “round-the-clock pitch-darkness,” “frayed, illegibly labeled 1000-volt cables” and “hazardous levels of carbon monoxide.”

Rikers Island

Time to midtown: 15 years to life, with time off for good behavior

Favorite Haunt: Exercise Yard (open daily 10 a.m. — 11 a.m.)

Rants and Raves: “NYC’s best-kept secret,” R.I. is rapidly scoring points for its “central location” (equidistant from three boroughs), “spacious accommodations” (shared doubles are bigger than a studio in Chelsea) and — no kidding — “free room and board.” Now the cons: lifers warn that it’s “easier getting in than getting out;” the “cigarette-based currency” can be frustrating to newcomers, who should “avoid showing weakness at all times.” And bachelors take note: despite the “thriving underground sex scene” Rikers is still considered a “lousy place to meet women.”

UnMetExRamNeJeT (UNder the MEtuchen EXit RAMp off the NEw JErsey Turnpike)

Time to midtown: 25 minutes

Favorite Haunt: Leroy’s Burning Trash Can

Rants and Raves: Within a few years, Unexramnejet is poised to become the “next Unsecexramnejet” (under the Secaucus exit ramp) only “less snobby.” Home to a thriving native population of “rats” and “derelicts,” Unmetexramnejet scores points for being “nicer than Jersey City,” and “convenient to gas, food, and lodging,” although the “constant traffic noise” and “unfashionable Metuchen zip code” keep some would-be gentrifiers at bay.

The New York City Morgue

Time to midtown: 15 minutes

Favorite Haunt: The conscience of your murdering husband

Rants and Raves: “Cozy single accommodations” are the rule in this “dead-quiet” nook of Manhattan; one self-proclaimed “Morgue Mama” says she’s “never once been bothered by the neighbors.” Some are irked by the “meat-locker air conditioning,” and a “stiff” local population that “isn’t aging well;” squatters are advised to “switch drawers every two or three days” or risk being “dissected” or “incinerated.”

Betelgeuse

Time to midtown: 425 years at light speed

Favorite Haunts: Several “hot spots” of boiling potassium gas

Rants and Raves: Talk about “hot” — this “shining star” of the outer-outer boroughs “burns bright” with the force of 60,000 Suns! “Incredible views of the Milky Way” are yours at this “world-renowned” address, which remains largely “untouched by life as we know it.” Watch out for “commutes that far exceed the average human lifespan” unless your Honda can “defy Einsteinian physics” by outpacing the speed of light; be prepared to make peace with the “total lack of atmosphere.”

Hell

Time to midtown: Eternity

Favorite Haunt: The walled city of Dis (dress code strictly enforced)

Rants and Raves: “Primo celebrity sightings” and natural wonders like “boiling craters of sulphur” are two of the attractions at this “ultimate destination for many New Yorkers.” Opportunists have crowded out the fringe, but there’s plenty of room in the lower circles, whose denizens are uniformly “full of Pride.” “Infinite, unbearable suffering” and “permanent separation from the loving arms of God” are common gripes from new arrivals; old-timers grumble that “everything’s turning into a Starbucks.”

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