An honest socioeconomic version of Disney’s Fox & Hound story would show the Fox, beaten down by years of poor frolicking decisions, ear-deep in IOUs to the bank, trapped, finally, in pauper’s prison, his coat full of mange, his ribs apparent through his fur, defeated and famished, inhaling his own methane-rich flatulence just to stay alive. Pull back to show the Hound, having foreclosed on the Fox’s den, chuckling to himself as he is serviced by several special-breed toy bitches while he dines daintily on the finest bushmeats (fried dodo legs) the world has to offer. Who wouldn’t rather be the Hound? What I’m saying is: it’s time to get that M.B.A.
Is it even true that people call splinters “slivers”? Who has ever heard another human say, “I just got a sliver in my foot from your unsanded deck!” or “This sliver in my hand is killing me. Fuck Brazilian rosewood!” I’ve witnessed “a sliver of truth” before, and that only on cop shows, I’m pretty sure, or maybe in Agatha Christie novels. Once or twice in my life, I’ve heard someone say, “Cut me just a sliver of cake.” Sliver seems the diminutive of slice, at least when it comes to food, just as pinch might be the diminutive of spoonful when it comes to powders, rubs, or granules. Is a sliver a smaller splinter? Is this a metric thing, where ten slivers = one splinter, and 1,000 splinters = one block, and 100 blocks = 1 plank? Someone familiar with English dialects tell me where the hell people go around saying sliver.
Prefuse 73, i.e., prior to fuse 73. Before Fuse 73, that’s music prehistory. Busy Signal elicits a complex set of emotions, but prominent in the mix are elements of despair, disappointment, suspicion. Word was at the time of its release that One Word Extinguisher dealt with an intense break-up, and it’s easy to hear this song as a part of that, as part of the break-up process. What is more deflating (or more poisonous, in some cases) than calling up a recent ex and getting that calm, declarative pulse? Who’s on the other-other end with them? Even if you ask later, you probably won’t get an answer, and if you do get an answer, it could be false. So don’t even bother asking, just ruminate disastrously on all possibilities—which is the type of thinking the song represents with those repetitive perforated tone structures (which themselves sound like sped-up busy signals). The breaks, the vocal exclamations, “he will take what he can find,” slurring into violins—this song is a real experience.
The first time I heard “I Hate the Kids” was at a party DJ’d by Arch Stanton in Richmond, VA. House party at a huge house way down on Monument Avenue–one of those old places that has a different type of column (doric, ionic, corinthian, swirl) for every exposure. When I arrived, there was just CD music–someone had on a mix that went from Superchunk to Phil Collins to Spiritualized, i.e., it was all over the map. No theme, no key-matching, no beat-matching. A mess. People weren’t paying attention to the music anyway, they were just standing around exchanging complaints and platitudes, some of them were even reading old copies of the Economist that I gathered belonged to the house’s owner, who, it turned out, no one knew. Later on, Arch Stanton set up his equipment and started playing. It was as if someone had actually yelled “Hark,” such was the change in the attitude of the party-goers. We all gathered around the speakers. Tentative dancing at first: joke-dancing, dudes clowning for girls. Then it was in earnest, people were going for it. Stanton’s set was eclectic but entertaining, incorporating everything–at one point I thought I heard a quick hit from the end of Anton Webern’s Marcia Funebre thrown in between Khia and Basic Channel. Later on, there was this song, Hot Snakes’ buzzy lament, which lead into Iron Knowledge’s “Showstopper,” dithering music for the dissipation at the end of the night.
When the two broods overlapped, the trees turned black. Lawns were perforated beyond repair by their holes. Everywhere their whole-body casts left behind: brown, delicate, clenched tight. The noise terrified. It was like listening to a slow explosion happening repeatedly outside your window, over and over. Intermittent ticking and then full-on detonation. Unstoppable. Delighted little red eyes staring right back at you.
A Russian fur-trapper claimed to have seen a single woolly mammoth wandering the taiga–he said it “brushed up against the trees like a cat against its owner’s legs.” Inhabitants of St. Paul Island in Alaska still stumble across mammoth bones and ivory to this day. A family of eskimos is said to possess the largest drum in the world, made from the stretched hide of one of the last woolly mammoths. The vibrations of that drum are almost incalculable; there is no clear eigenfunction, and the drum makes a sound like someone speaking to you from within your skull.
Mugelkass was on vacation with his family at the beach. The wan Delawarean sun provided just enough light through the cloud cover that Mugelkass could read his book without straining his eyes. Bouvard and Pecuchet. His wife and son were out in the waves, no doubt gulping down saltwater and tiny stray strands of seaweed. Mugelkass put his book down and fell asleep. When he awoke, things were different. The book was gone. His son was gone, and his wife was gone. He had slept through the end of the world and come out the other side. Delaware looked pretty much the same. How had this happened? he wondered. Why didn’t anyone wake me for the apocalypse? Just then he heard a shout from further up the beach. It was his wife. “Honey!” she called. Mugelkass’s son stood next to Mugelkass’s wife; he waved and said, “Hey, POP!” Both of them laughed. Mugelkass frowned. “Where the fuck is my book?” he said. His wife waved it at him. “We wanted to prank you,” she said. “So we took your stuff and moved you to this part of the beach.” The son said, “It was tough, you’re pretty heavy, Dad. It was like moving a beached whale.” Mugelkass looked to the sky as if to ask what sins he had committed to be punished by his own family in such a way. “We’re definitely not going to Red Lobster tonight,” Mugelkass said, in what was perhaps the most authoritative moment of his entire life.
There is a time to rub and a time to poke; there is a time to soften and a time to obdure; there is a time to gyrate and a time to stiffen; there is a time to breathe and a time to suffocate; there is a time to tickle and a time to torture; there is a time to lick and a time to exude; there is a time to moan and a time to echo; there is a time to explore and a time to absorb; there is a time to harbor and a time to expel.