Squaring Off in the Nonagon.
"You're gone, son." -- Tom, reaffirming Spike's banishment
"It was so awesome, I went to Cancun!" -- Denny Blaze on his lone vacation
"But I don't see no teepees here -- those Indians are gone." -- MC Steinberg in "Payotay"
"He's a pretty good punk." -- Petey on Pete Seeger
"The blinding, white-hot future of music as a whole." -- Anonymous on Gretchen Wilson and her nu-country ilk
"Keep that mustached trimmed." -- Tom to the star of The Birds And The Bees
"I apologize to me for saying that." -- Tom, after saying that Mike was "screening like the wind"
"Lon Chaney is going to go down as one of the most misunderstood politicians of our century." -- Keith Garfinkle on the Vice-President
"When you control the mail, you control ... information." -- Rogue mail carrier Newman to Jerry Seinfeld
"It's a competitive sport, you munch." -- Keith, informing Tom about the NESFL
*The podcast remains a flop -- two more people signed up, but one of them unsubscribed leaving three, lowly TBS podders. Absent an influx of subscribers, Tom will pull it. Perhaps the pleas are working as Tom picked up one more last week to bring the total to four. Tell your friends. Don't let Tom get crushed by a chowderhead.
Eleventh Dream Day - "Between Here And There"
( Click here to buy Beet)
Smoosh - "Find A Way"
( Click here to pre-order Free To Stay)
Centro-Matic - "Monument Sails"
( Click here to buy Fort Recovery)
Mogwai - "Friend Of The Night"
( Click here to buy Mr. Beast)
Tilly and the Wall - "Black And Blue"
( Click here to pre-order Bottoms of Barrels)
Bonus Track for Mike the Courageous Call Screener:
Drive-By Truckers - "Like A Rolling Stone" (cover of the Bob Dylban punk classic)
Brief bit of self-promotion: My band -- The Banana Show -- is having a beer cozy release party in the back room at Pianos on Saturday, April 29th. We won't be playing any music (still trying to secure management), but I'll likely do a brief spoken-word set. Time Out New York once called me "the unholy love child of Henry Rollins and Maggie Estep". I've lined up Chelsea Peretti and Craig Wedren as openers. See you at the merch table!
Time to get blazed with some annotated highlights from an average, white, middle-class recapper who's just trying to express himself (the text is a bit rough because I was just writing it for myself):
- Tom gives a brief refresher (starts at 25:38) on Spike, the divisive, dungeon-dwelling prevert who was once a mainstay of the post-music, 8:30-ish segment. During the first WFMU Marathon show, Tom offered Spike a spot co-hosting for a full three hours, and he turnd Tom down cold, triggering a lifetime ban. Spike's been MIA ever since, but he briefly returned to the airwaves as Tom read an e-mail in his voice:
From: Spike < spike_be_goode @ gmail.com >
To: Tom Scharpling
Date: Apr 12 2006 4:20 PM
Subject: I don't do lifetime bans
Miss me? I know the listeners do. Don't worry, I will return calling. I was to busy in the dungeon to call.
From reading the message boards, I am sorely missed. Batten down the hatches, I'll be back.
P.S. – My horror script just got greenlit; Trent's on board and he'll be producing it with Marky Ramone Films. Since it will be NC-25 and targeted towards urban areas, I doubt Lion's Gate will bother pushing it into one of your subirban metroplexes. I guess I'd describe it as a mix of Hostel, Sleepy Hollow, and Happiness, among other things. I wrote the role of a headless demonic pimp/child molester for Herman Santiago. The name of that character is "Tom Scharpling". Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Tom points out that Spike was apparently not too busy learning how to correctly use the monosyllabic "too", a skill that is normally achieved by the age of 7. (Spike was obviously deprived of the benefits of top-shelf suburban schooling.) Tom doesn’t want him back and confirms the lifetime ban, although Tom may have no say in the matter since Spike is telling him that he will make his return. At a minimum, I'd like to see one more Spike blowout -- a proper denouement, instead of his wimpy waffling on making the trek to WFMU and throwing it down with The Kid.
Brian from Higgins calls (starts at 29:38) to make sure that Tom got the check from Maggadee and weigh in on the Great Spike Debate. He votes for no more calls from Droopy Zippermouth. Brian mentions a lone upcoming show on Long Island, and Tom tells him to get some more shows going to cash in on their hott record and bring their music to the masses.
Higgins - "Town 2 Town"
- Tom's Weekly Concern: the ongoing Tall Bike War. Tom discusses (starts at 31:50) his latest battle with Brooklyn tall bike mutants, who had previously super-soaked him with acid as he was trying to eat an ice cream cone. They warned Tom that if he continued to talk about tall bike culture, they would kill him. Last weekend, Tom was having a nice family picanic -- the basket, the blanket, all the food spread out, all the trappings were in place. Then, all of a sudden, 15 tall bikes emerged from over a hill. The bikers were wearing leather jackets with "Williamsburg Forever" written on the back.
Tom was seated on the blanket with his grandmother, uncles, aunts, and the rest of the family trying to enjoy himself when the bikers ran over the blanket, smashed the food, and whipped chains around, claiming retribution. One hoodlum reached into his Meatwad satchel, retreived an issue of McSweeneys (not the softer one that looked like junk mail) and hit Tom's grandmother. (These mutants seem to take great joy in killing an injuring old ladies. For shame.) As the Scharpling clan scattered, Tom ran into an abandoned Two Guys to hide from the tall bikers. They tried to scare Tom using The Warriors-esque "click, click, click" noises that echoed throughout the store. Tom, however, was not scared and picked up a 2-by-4. As they came at him, he hurled the lumber right into the spokes, and a tall biker went flying. Tom then took some bubble tea out of his satchel and poured it all over him while giving him a warning: “You watch it!”. With his foot pressed against the tall biker's throat, Tom added: "You leave me alone!" At this moment, another biker approached from behind and hit Tom in the face with a chain. Tom was knocked unconscious and woke up in front of Northsix two days later.
Tom is undeterred and challenged all tall bikers to a fight on Friday, April 21st, vowing to finally bring tall bike culture to an end. If the tall bikers bring a knife, Tom will bring a gun; if they bring a gun, Tom will bring a bomb. Whatever it takes to protect his family. I scoured the tri-state press, but could not find anything about a tall bikers-radio host battle royale, so I'm not sure how all of this turned out for Tom. Hopefully not in Death. Behold a pale horse:
x amount & The Pathetic Parody Players - "A Horrible Thing Happened to Grandma Scharpling"
- Two Steves For Tuesday:
Steve in Grand Rapids, MI. (starts at 40:53) calls to tell Tom that he's one of the original two podcast listeners, and he doesn't want to see his radio lifeline get pulled. He also thanks Tom for sticking it to the tall bikers since he had a firsthand look at what they did to one of the Brooklyn storefronts. Steve doesn’t care about his local NBA squad (Tom thinks the team is fun and full of good guys), but he does like the Tigers. Tom thinks someone should throw a McSweeneys at the elderly Tigers skipper to wake him up. It's been 17 years since the Tigers had their last winning season, but Tom thinks the good days will return soon.
This one guy from Superchunk says: Go Pistons!
Steven in Chicago calls (starts at 44:20) to echo his namesake's support of the podcast -- he's the second of the three subscribers and usually relies on the podcast since he's unable to properly stream it while working at Reckless Records. Tom asks him about the go-to records he plays to light up customers, and Steven reveals that he'll turn to his co-workers, say "Watch everybody groove to this one!", and then spin the DC Snipers's Missile Sunset or something by Pissed Jeans. While this causes some shoppers to dance in the aisles, the lively mood is often killed by a lot of acrimony from people who can't understand why the store won't buy their scratched-up used rarities. Tom recommends playing some of the intense, ill beats and free-floating flow of Average Homeboy to blaze shoppers and get ahead of the music curve.
Tom delves into (starts at 47:04) his fascination with the work of struggling rapper Denny Blaze (aka Blazin' Hazen), who offers counter-programming to the traditional hip-hop tales from urban areas and is trying to secure a record deal. Tom thinks he's cool and talented and deserving of the star status he so desperately seeks. He's also impressed that he managed to turn a single roll of film from his one vacation into 432 fake album covers.
Is Denny himself fake? Tom finds it disgusting to think that someone concocted the Average Homeboy character as a comedic ruse. If it's real, we can laugh at Blaze's lack of talent, but if it's a put-on, we are the butt of the joke, and that is unacceptable. Tom, for one, is ashamed of a person who dared to exploit their creativity and cleverness to pretend to be something they are not. No one likes a faker.
- MC Steinberg (starts at 1:12) returns and vigorously declares that he's doing awesome. He thinks Blazin' Hazen is a "chump" who's after a portion of his rap domain. While MCS doesn't come from the "streets" per se and has never been a gang member, he's lived a hard life that allows him to bring much more depth and authenticity to his rhymes compared to the gimmicky BH. Tom points out that an entire floor would have to be removed from BH's house in order for it to qualify as middle-class; MCS doesn't even have a lawn or the requisite funds to go on fancy resort vacations (MCS can't swim anyway). MCS challenges Mr. Blaze to a battle rap and thinks a more appropriate moniker would be "Blazin’ Raisin”.
The last time MCS called, he was in the early stages of payotay addiction. He went through a rough period since then, but is now on the upswing. While he used to get a good hour of sleep per night, that did not happen while using payotay. (Sounds similar to his downward spiral circa Thanksgiving 2005 when he was waking up in the shower.) He started lashing out at his friends, most notably stabbing Bubba with a fork. He's not really sure if Bubba's is doing OK, but he didn’t stab him hard -- just enough to draw blood. However, this violent outburst did not cause him to stop using payotay.
The turning pout was when he entered his neighbor's unlocked apartment, stole everything he could carry out, and then sold it for drug money. His neighbor was not happy about the thievery, but he's old, so he half-deserved to be robbed. After this incident, MCS checked himself into the same rehab clinic that houses his mother, and plans to write a screenplay about his experiences while institutionalized.
Since MCS is an artist, he wrote a message rap to help the kids steer clear of the perilous payotay. He feels that young people get plenty of information In school about the more mainstream vices of pot, beer, heroin, Chocolageddon, cigarettes, Ecstasy, Rainbow Elixirs, etc., but they never hear the truths about this back burner drug, such as its ability to make one think they are a tree. The tune -- simply titled "Payotay" -- continues MCS's string of catchy, sing-song choruses, and it should appeal equally to urban and rural audiences:
When you're hooked to the payotay, You freak out and lose, you know
You're mind goes away, middle of the day, you lose total control
You say the Indians smoked it too, they were nice, they can't be wrong
But I don't see no teepees here -- those Indians are gone
You don't troll the streets, looking for a fixin', when you'll find it nowhere
This fun just became an addiction, my life is so unfair
When you're hooked to the payotay, You freak out and lose, you know
You're mind goes away, middle of the day, you lose total control
Tom found the new flow to be potent and thought the track has potential to be the "White Lines" for the new generation. MCS has never heard of the rap classic, so Tom GOMPs him for the egregious lack of knowledge in his chosen field.
Guided By Voices - "I Am A Tree"
- Petey calls (starts at 1:21), and he's doing pretty goob, explaining that his lack of recent calls are a result of becoming an aunthentic punk, which requires him to be mean and, thus, ignore his buddy Tommy. While listening to Elliot Smith records, Petey had an epiphany and transformed into a pink-mohawked skate-punk, much like one gains enlightenment via Buddhist meditation. Tom is not sure how the acoustic ditties of Smith would lead one down the path to punkdom, but Petey finds his work "pretty punkish". Tom thinks this behavior is more likely to result from listening to The Exploited or the UK Subs, but Petey does not consider that real punk music.
Petey believes that acoustic folk songs by the likes of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger are the real punk, but nobody understands that. He acquired a skateboard and now parades through town screaming at people, including crashing a pizza store to spit on a guy’s slice. Tom thinks he's less of a punk and more of a jerk, but Petey believes that a punk must be mean to everybody and constantly declare that they are in fact punk. Petey also convinced all of his friends to be punks, including the mutant Mack, who is now a full-on Z-Boy. Petey recently merged folk and modern punk to record an Elliot Smith cover that he believes blazes Steinberg away. The track features Petey on guitar and vocals, Mack on drums, and Boring Dan with some background vocals.
Turns out that the track is quite faithful to the original, although it earns punk points for its subpar recording quality. Petey declares that he's against the whole world and everyone is a potential target for his newfound rage. Tom thinks this may be satire or a lampooning of one of his classmates, but Petey insists that it's a legit punk movement and his gang will ultimately rule his school.
The Descendents - "I'm Not A Punk"
- No Smoke calls (starts at 1:31) to invite Tom to a protest at 30 Rockefeller to end hunger. No Smoke claims he will play the role of the cause's pantomining mascot, Hungerr, whose costume features a giant orange head and a big open mouth. Tom thinks that No Smoke is weaving another flight of fancy based on his sordid history of fibbery, including a two-year ruse in which Tom thought he was helping him quit smoking, when, in fact, he was lying about his nicotine addiction. No Smoke claims it's a real event that he's been planning for a year, but Tom's had enough and GOMPs the lying chowderhead, directing him to dip his head in a can of orange paint -- the color of liars.
- Anonymous calls (starts at 1:35) on the day he was ousted from his post as a high-level music editor at a high-profile weekly. He wants Tom to get on board with some of his opinions on music, and asks him which of the following albums he thinks is more important: Cowboy Troy's Loco Motive or Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation. Tom selects Daydream Nation by 1,000 miles, but Anonymous declares Tom to be wrong by that same distance. Tom wonders how on Earth he could be wrong, and Anonymous counters with a fascistic "it's just the way it is."
Anonymous then declares the limp country-rock of Tim McGraw to be a far more important and innovative than Tom faves the DC Snipers. Tom does not understand why it has to be a contest and thinks everyone is entitled to their opinions. Anonymous then discusses the band Junkyard, featuring Brian Baker of Minor Threat. He believes their self-titled 1989 debut was easily the best album of the 1980s. Tom really disagrees, but that’s why Anonymous is a published author of books and Tom is not. He then reveals (free of charge) his secret formula for the past two decades: Reactionary Viewpoint + Encyclopedic Knowledge of Rock (including fringe Forced Exposure-style fodder + AmphetamineCreem-speak = lucrative book deal.
Tom wonders if Anonymous is just being a contrarian, but he assures Tom that he immensely enjoys all of the music he lauds, stating: “I am a Gretchen Wilson fanatic.” Tom is not a fan of the genre that mixes fake country with rockin' elements from old Mister Mister songs. Anonymous counters by saying that a disparate sonic stew is essential to moving forward. He cites Cowboy Troy's "amazing marriage" of modern country and street-level, hard-hitting rap, which produces the brilliant genre of "hick-hop". Tom questions where these hard-hitting raps are emanating from, and Anonymous informs him that they come from the streets in a neighborhood that he's afraid to enter. Tom thinks it's more likely that Cowboy Troy is living in the guest house of Big & Rich's suburban castle.
Anonmyous then makes the bold assertion that B&R are "the most important artists of all-time", which prompts Tom to mockingly sing a portion of "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy", noting its fake rock and fake country sound. Anonymous sarcastically comments that it sounded like Tom just played the original recording over the phone. Tom's counters with a wildly sarcastic quip about being sorry that he lost his outlet for his valuable musical opinions, and Anonymous is wildly serious in vowing to find another avenue for them. He thinks it's brilliant to take the opposite side of something and wants to have lunch with Tom so he could spend two hours telling him why Sublime is a better band than The Urinals. Tom takes a rain check, which Anonymous thinks is evidence that he could not handle his groundbreaking opinions. Tom found his book with "Hell" in the title to be a kinda silly, but Anonymous thinks Tom was -- and still might not be -- not ready for its contents. He asks Tom to revisit it with a more mature mind so he can understand great heavy metal recommendations like Teena Marie's Emerald City. He lifted Tom's veil and exposed him to real metal.
While "Hollywood" was a solid single, I disagree with Anonymous's assertion that Junkyard's 1989 debut was the decade's best album. I can think of many albums that were superior in that year alone: Bang Tango's Psycho Cafe, Tangier's Four Winds, Tesla's The Great Radio Controversy, Whitesnake's Slip Of The Tongue, Great White's ... Twice Shy, L.A. Guns's Cocked & Loaded, White Lion's Big Game, Faster Pussycat's Wake Me When It's Over, Alice Cooper's Trash, and the self-titled debuts from Dangerous Toys, Skid Row, Mr. Big, Extreme, Tora Tora, Danger Danger, Badlands, and Enuff 'Z Nuff.
- Tom's excited (starts at 1:49) about the made-for-TV avian disaster movie Fatal Contact: Bird Flu In America, set to air on May 9th on ABC, and reenacts the speculative opening scene where a guy acquires the bird flu from mouth-feeding a peanut to his diseased parrot. Tom then greenlights his competing project: The Birds And The Bees, featuring flu-ridden birds fighting killer bees on the Mexican border. The increasingly busy Stacey Keach will also star in this film, and Tom will make him feel at home by reuniting him with Christopher Titus, who will play a young scientist. Tom is so giddy at the impending cinema that he tangled himself within his headphone cords.
- Keith Garfinkle calls (starts at 2:09) to second Anonymous's music opinions and thinks that Tom should be playing Big & Rich instead of obscure stuff that nobody wants to hear. Keith thinks that people want to hear stuff that they know, but Tom thinks people also want to be turned on to exciting, new music. He agrees that people love new music and suggests that Tom play James Blunt's "You're Beautiful", but Tom declines, noting his creepy turn on Saturday Night Live. He tries again with Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away", and while Tom can appreciate its pop craft, he doesn't feel it has much of a home on his show. He then requests "Savin' Me" and is amused that Tom cannot identify it as a Nickelback single. Since Tom is obviously into playing older stuff, he recommends queuing up "A Whole New World". Tom thinks it's from The Lion King, and Keith calls him a dunce for not correctly placing it as a cut from Aladdin
Since he's aware of Tom's penchant for loud stuff, he proposes a track he thinks will be right up Tom's alley: Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer". Tom laughs, declaring the track horrible, and Keith notes that the holier-than-thou vibe of WFMU DJs makes him puke. He's disgusted that they think they are better than everyone else because they know a lot about bad obscure bands. Tom tells him to find music he likes on another station, and Keith says, "Oh, don't think I don't." Based on the discussion, Keith predicts that Tom is the kind of guy who makes fun of our President and his administration. He's right. Keith likes Bush and Cheney because they require respect as our leaders -- we do what they say and we listen to them. Tom thinks we are allowed to have a differing opinions.
He asks Tom if he caught the clip of the VP throwing out the first pitch at the Nationals game. Tom thought it was hilarious; Keith thought it was spectacular. He claims that the pitch was clocked at 96 mph, making it the fastest pitch thrown in the entire league that day. Keith watched the clip on the fair and balanced Fox News: They showed the ball leave Cheney's hand, cut to him watching his pitch, then cut to the catcher throwing the ball back and removing his hand from his mitt to blow on it to reduce the pain caused by the force of the fireball. Keith reports rumors that Cheney is being scouted by at least six MLB teams as a pitcher, and he's sure that this will play out just like President Baseball. Tom doesn't know what that is, so Keith informs him: "The movie, you dip." The film came out last summer, but is not well-known because it was not properly pumped by Shout Films and had the misfortune of opening against box-office juggernaut The Dukes Of Hazzard.
The plot in a nutshell: President Wink Brylowski (Alan Alda) throws out the first pitch at a Mets vs. Nationals game, and it's a total scorcher. Later in the game, he easily catches a foul ball in his cup of beer. Tom thinks that it's not very Presidential to be drinking at a ball game, but this fits with the side plot in which Brylowski is known as "The Party President".
Since he shows he can field sans a glove, the Nationals sign the leader of the free world on the spot. This creates the main dramatic tension of the film -- the demands of running the country while simultaneously playing center field, pitching, and pinch-running (he's also super-fast) for the Nationals. The climactic scene involves a wise, Kissingeresque Secretary of State ( Brendan Fraser) advising the President on a nucular standoff with China. Brylowski is in the middle of pitching the final stanza of the World Series. He knows the Chinese dude has his little finger on the button and he could press it at any second. The Secretary of State sternly approaches the mound and while one might assume that he would recommend leaving the game to deal with the Chinese, Keith recites -- in serious, Germanic tones -- a line that will likely score Fraser an Oscar nomination: "Mr. President, I have one thing to say to you: strike this guy out." The crowd was somehow quiet enough to hear the line and, thus, goes nuts.
Fraser is unrecognizable as a character in his mid to late-60s, but he's not slathered in old guy makeup. In fact, there's no makeup at all. Fraser took the aging drug Oldzonareveren (presumably a product from Kern Pharmaceuticals), which allowed him to put on 30 years in two weeks. However, from what Keith has heard, there was a snag with the reversal drug, Youngoproxin. It did not take all the way, so Fraser still looks like he's in his late 40s. Keith thinks this will make for a good antidote during Fraser's next appearance on Leno. Tom informs him that the correct word is "anecdote", but Keith disagrees and suggests that Tom should try cracking a book some time.
Tom asks him to crack a dictionary, and he goes to retrieve one as he mutters about Tom being a "creep" and a "dumb cretin'. He discovers that he is wrong and appears to throw the book in anger, but claims he just placed it on a shelf ("Nothing flew anywhere"). He's increasingly annoyed by Tom's 'tude towards the VP and the Adminstration and tells Tom to mark his words that "Lon Chaney" will go down as one of the most misunderstood politicians of the century. Tom tells him that Lon Chaney is a horror film actor, but Keith is not buying it: "What a dunce you are, you don't even know who the Vice President is." He tells Tom that he lacks a broad spectrum of knowledge and there is a whole world out there beyond his stupid, obscure record collection
Keith digs his newspaper out of his recycling bin and scans the national news section. He discovers that the VP is actually named Dick Cheney, as Tom said, and he crumples the paper and "places it" next to the dictionary. Tom says it sounded like he threw a temper tantrum and believes that Keith is out of control. Keith asks for one more of whatever Tom's got, and Tom suggests looking something up on his computer since he'd like to hear that being thrown across the room. Keith believes this is the comment of someone who is not interested in ever receiving his mail again, and asks Tom how the name "Keith Garfinkle" grabs him. Tom says it doesn't, so Keith directs him to a website for some research. Keith tells Tom to click on a red tab on the left side of the page that says "Message from the Postmaster General". Tom cannot locate the tab, so Keith tells him to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see that it is signed by Edmond T. Garfinkle, Postmaster General.
Edmond is Keith's uncle and he can make one call to him to end Tom's mail delivery for life. Keith is quite serious about using his family pull: "I've done it before and I'll do it again, you fart." In the past, he's stopped the mail of various people who have done him wrong --- ex-girlfriends, jerky bag boys at grocery stores, a couple of mechanics who ripped him off, and his parents, who would not help him get out of the Marines when he realized it was not for him on the first day of boot camp. He enlisted because he thought it would be fun a la Stripes, but that film focused on the Army and the Marines were more intense with drill sargeants yelling at him to do push-ups. He wanted his folks to back his claims that he suffered from night prowls (he does not actually have the affliction), which caused him to commit heinous acts in the middle of the night. They refused, so they did not get mail service for five years -- no magazines, no bills, no paychecks, no welfare checks, no tax refunds, and no medicine. Keith tells Tom that the postal service is a powerful tool, reciting one of Newman's lines to Jerry on Seinfeld. Keith is heavier than Newman, but has still won several Wayne Knight look-alike contests due to facial similarity. Tom thinks this information takes the call to new levels of sadness.
Tom wonders why his uncle would go along with such serious malfeasance, and it originates with something Edmond did to Keith when he was a kid. Molestation? God no -- he tried to run him over with his mail truck because Keith was pressing his buttons at a family picanic in the late 80s, taunting him about his abnormally hairy arms with names like "Ape Arms" and "Monkey Hands" in front of everyone, including his new wife. Everyone was laughing nervously, but the next day, Edmond tried to run Keith over with his car. Keith threatened to call the cops, but Edmond said that he would be forever in his debt if he dropped it. As Edmond made his way up the USPS ranks, Keith remained silent to not prevent him from becoming PMG -- the grail for all the lifers. If Edmond doesn't do his bidding, he will squawk and he'll be terminated pronto. As Keith put it, his uncle "knows what side his butter's breaded on."
The best part of this blackmail scheme for Keith is that he also makes all the mailmen at the Newbridge postal branch do his daily bidding. They work for Keith as butlers, chauffeurs, wash his car, do his shopping, and buy him spank mags. They even went to Ikea to pick up all the stuff he ordered for the new addition they are building on his house. Tom assumes they are furious about this indentured servitude, and while Keith can tell that they talk about it behind his back, they ultimately have no choice. Tom is horrified and tells him that he is completely abusing the postal service workers who are already dealing with huge volumes of mail and then are stuck doing his chores because he's blackmailing the PMG. At this point, Tom is making Keith sick and is dangerously close to having his full service cut off. Keith would love to get Tom in the nonagon, the nine-sided polygonic enclosure in which he participates in competitive slap fights.
Keith slaps for the Newbridge Redfaces of the North Eastern Slap Fight League (NESFL). They are off to a 4-0 start, narrowly avoiding their first loss by licking the Westbridge Handprints in the final Slap-Off. The competitors are first divided into two age classes (14 and under / 14 and over) and then into weight classes, the real line of demarkation. Tom's impressed that Keith could get out the word "demarkation" and Keith is not pleased with the taunt ("Say goodbye to all your magazines"), informing Tom that he will soon have to buy single copies his magazines at the Spank Mag Emporium.
In the battle against the Westbridge Handprints, Keith, who is 44, went up against a morbidly obese 16-year-old named Kevin, who had a loud face. Keith can tell by Tom's voice that he has a soft face and predicts that his visage would be purple after one slap. Keith's face is tough and well-conditioned since he oils it to prevent cracking. He also oils his chins.
Tom wants to hear more about the nuances of the sport, so Keith explains that the slappers square off in the nonagon and after a whistle is blown, they can initiate their opening slap. Keith believes there is a delicate skill required to achieve the perfect slap -- not too hard and not too soft. This will be further explored in The Art Of The Slap, his forthcoming book on Slap Fighting. He loves the sound of a hand hitting facial flesh and gives Tom a few samples of self-slapping over the phone. He records all of the matches and plans to market CD of the best slaps, which he will put over a bed of classical techno to create a "slap symphony" for the Slapheads.
Keith does not understand why YMCAs and other sports clubs have no interest in hosting matches, so the league is forced to use alternate venues such as the basement of the Newbridge Pentecostal Church. Keith tells Tom that it's a gray area in terms of whether the NESFL has permission to use these locations, so they generally have to sneak in. They find a church member who looks like he wimpy enough to be easily slapped down and force him to leave a window open in the Fellowship Hall. They will then enter in the off-peak hour, such as 3 a.m. on a Thursday. They don't steal much from the churches other than some food, which is not really stealing because it's "substenance." Tom tells Keith that there is no such word, but Keith is convinced that it means "that which the body needs to keep going." He can't locate it in his dictionary, which he thinks must be old because it does have a new word like "substenance". Tom says the word was just birthed by Keith and spells "sustenance" for him. Keith finds it and once again throws the dictionary in disgust.
Tom asks him if he's ok, but he tells him to hold so he can answer the door. Tim, one of the postal workers, is at the door to chauffeur Keith to "Sexapades". Keith tells him that he does not need a ride there until midnight, and Tim enters the house. Keith becomes frantic, calling Tim a jerk and telling him to leave. Keith then asks Tim why Mike, Glen, and Kenny are there with hatchets. As they approach, Keith pleads to settle it like men and slap it out. He starts yelling in terror and the call is disconnected. The postal workers had their comeuppance. Hopefully Werner Herzog was there to film it. Tom does not expect another call from Keith Garfinkle.
- With the theme song contest approaching its May 2nd finale, Tom plays (2:46) two new entries: "The Best Show Fanfare", an instrumental entry by The Rank Amateurs, and The Plarns' "Best Theme #1".
Tom gets a call from Seafaring Willis, who is angry that he paid $13 to overnight his "Tom's the Bomb #3" theme and Tom didn't even play it. He asks Tom if he's purposefully torturing him, and Tom wonders why he sent a package overnight to a weekly radio show. Tom promises to play it next week. This is the same guy who was thrilled with Tom's "The Pouting Prince" marathon premium, having been sent into convulsions from seeing a previous autographed picture of Tom.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Denny Blaze evaporates Steve Blue's juice live on the air, Anonymous calls to discuss the comparative quality of the Volcano Suns' The Bright Orange Years and Kix's Midnight Dynamite, and Bryce Prefontaine runs some lines from a script about the world of competitive eating that Tom co-wrote with Steve Harvey. All of this assumes that Tall Bikers didn't knock El Goodo unconscious with a hardcover edition of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and slice his juggler vein with the companion DVD from McSweeney's #11.
Eleventh Dream Day - "Axle"