Weak Chin Music.
"It's like if the dude from Leaving Las Vegas had a blog." - Tom, blurbing @APMike's late-stage Twitterspace
"If I find an Internet café, and I have an extra little Abe Lincoln sheet of paper in my pocket, I'll fold that into the feeder and jump onto the Mindweb and lay a couple of droppings out there, sure." - Travis Edgkin, confirming that he frequently posts on message boards
"I dig the claws in deep, but I dig 'em in gently." - Travis Edgkin, revealing the way he handles denizens of his pirate radio mindtrip
"I thought that's the kind of ossified, calcified corporate kinda stuff that you do that kinda cocoons the listener in a sorta gentle jelly of compromise." - Travis Edgkin, justifying his over-the-top "Oldies Station" intro of Sellout Harrison's "Ding Dong, Ding Dong"
"I don't know why ... You really are ... You're nuts. I mean that in the best sense." -- Tom, diplomatically assessing the aspiring DJ
"I eat a lot of pouch food now." - Travis Edgkin, 48, lamenting his low-sodium diet
"What about Amy Beertent?" -- Tom, performing an ode to Spike's horrifying Mad magazine spoofs
"My life doesn't allow me to hang upside down, so I decided I have to exercise instead to get the same effect. " -- Fredericks of NPR, informing Ben Crock about his sag-reversing pull-up regimen
"I think we just cleared the decks for 2008. I feel weirdly ... uh ... purified now. " -- Tom, readying the ship for 2009 battle after the psychedelic Spike/FoNPR/JfC jam session
[More quotes to come.]
"I kept wondering if I was really looking at myself. Those jowls? So droopy. Like a deformed hippo or something." - Sean from Rampbridge, criticizing his appearance in TV interviews regarding the crash of Flight 254
"I thought it would camouflage that? And it just looks like there's a dying albino chipmunk torso hanging off my chin or something. It's gross, just gross." - Sean, bashing the beard that was supposed to hide his fatty face
"I mean, these things could have their own zip code or time zone, or however people describe something that's outrageously oversized. It's sick. I hate it." -- Sean, rejecting the vast landscape occupied by his eye bags
"Come on, it's me, Sean. Where do you get it? Come on. Where do you get it? Tom. Come on. I can hear you hitting the buttons and working those toggle switches. We all can." - Sean, pushing Tom to tell him the retailer of his TS-478 voice modulator
"I can't even hear anymore. Geez!" - Sean, feeling the harmful effects of his own air horn
"Because I'm the face of Port-o-John Monthly, you munch." - Sean, explaining why he needs to travel to Eastern Guam for jowl-displacement surgery
"No, up a little bit. Yeah. My ploople. My ploople pop." -- Sean, directing Tom to the desired location of a forthcoming $700 fat injection
"I thought we were gonna go to the White House this year, which is what it should be called." -- Sean, regretting that the White Rage American Hate Speech party was denied admittance into the properly-named residence
"Well, if invisible was a number, it would be that." -- Sean, providing the final vote tally for WRAHSP Presidential candidate Walt Fredericks in Southwestern Idaho
"I'm so glad. It sounds like the air horn is dying." - Tom, celebrating the final frog-fart cries of Sean's sonic weapon
The Dirtbombs - "Start The Party"
( Click here to buy Dangerous Magical Noise)
Pussy Galore - "Renegade!"
Girls Against Boys - "Go Be Delighted"
( Click here to buy Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby)
No Bunny - "Boneyard"
( Click here to buy Love Visions)
Thomas Function - "Can't Say No"
( Click here to buy Celebration)
The Duke Spirit - "You Really Wake Up The Love In Me"
( Click here to buy Neptune)
Paul Collins' Beat - "Ribbon of Gold"
( Click here to buy Ribbon of Gold)
Superchunk - "Baxter"
( Click here to buy Live at the Cat's Cradle - 8/29/08 from CyTunes)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
- Mike from East Rutherford calls to complain about two things Tom was talking about during last week's show. The first was Tom ripping on the wonderful sport of hockey. He can't believe that a man of Tom's intelligence fails to appreciate that it's the greatest sport ever. What? Stick skating? Mike wants to know Tom's favorite sport. It is, of course, basketball, which is Mike's least favorite. Tom recommends that he talk all about hockey's superiority over lousy basketball on his radio show. He GOMPs Mike for not understanding the concept of having opinions.
Hello! And welcome. To another recap of The Best Show on Jersey City, New Jersey's WFMU. Tom Scharpling, the usual host of the program, shivers his way into this blustery December eve for the final Tuuuuuesday night extravagonza of 2008. He imagines that entire families -- grandpa, grandma, father, mother, and kids -- are chairbound and slippered as they gather around BOSE® radios with deceptively tiny speakers in living rooms across the country. Tom predicts that the grandparents are confused about the source of all that sound, prompting yet another lecture from father about the power of his new mini-soundsystem. He bets that mother is a little sick of hearing his rant for the 500th time. The kids don't care about stereo equipment beyond dreading that moment when someone drags them in front of it for three hours. Tom asks the kids not to blame him for the hatred that is slowly building inside of them. He wants them to direct their rage at the family member who is mandating these weekly listening sessions.
Tom is a little sad to kiss 2008 goodbye, and he thanks Associate Producer Mike for all his hard work in the past year. It should be noted that Mike had to balance his producing/screening duties with his Newbridge Mayubernatorial run, meetings with Pat Robertson about joining the staff of The 700 Club, forays into eccentric body art, tireless promotion of the Jonestown Massacre 30th anniversary, and developing his disturbing drinking habit. Tom mentions that @APMike also recently joined the Twitter revolution with a page that promises weekly reviews of the A&E documentary series Intervention, along with other musings from the dark recesses of his mind. Meanwhile, The Kid continues to use his 140 characters of fun to create a variety show featuring family-friendly Twitter Titters(tm), the white-hott Fuel Dump novel, and a Question of the Week series. Tom compares Mike's more melancholy Tweets to the blog of Ben Sanderson from Leaving Las Vegas.
He alerts the Twitterverse to some competitive heat brewing between @APMike and Best Show scrivener @Omar4life as they race to attract the most followers. Tom bills the duo as the cream of a microblogging crop that includes mutants like the toiletmouth guy running a filth-joke Twitter portal. He is unable to say the offending the handle without getting kicked off the air. Tom sends out get well wishes to an ill H-Man, his eventual replacement who made an auspicious debut back in August. He prepares listeners for the inevitable: a Tuesday night when his young pupil takes over the microphone. Tom and his modulated voice will be ancient history. He even plans to delete all of the archived shows to leave no trace of his existence on the WFMU servers. Tom needs the H-Man to be strong and healthy as he prepares to slide into the hosting chair and regale everyone with exciting tales of his croquet matches.
He announces that tonight also marks the last show of the current format before instituting some 2009 changes, such as Spike losing his automatic opening slot. Tom says that he will have to go back to the trenches and earn the prime booking just like everybody else. He will no longer tolerate the standard "Heeelllooo, Tom" greeting followed by nothing beyond the usual checklist of talking points. Tom wants everyone to dig deeper and maintain topical focus in the new year. He recommends that people stave off boredom by reading the latest issue of The Immortal Iron Fist instead of calling a radio program.
- A caller asks "Tommy Gun" if he will be shooting hollow points at The Man for the next three hours. Tom says he will use his time to put a lid on 2008. The caller seems to accept this as a figurative assault and mentions an important message that he intends to deliver. He hopes that Tom received his package and was not too shocked by its contents. The caller suspects that Tommy Gun is in a little bit of denial about some unspecified reality. Tom assures him that he's doing fine and asks about this shipment. The caller wonders if Tom knows who he is and quickly ends the mystery by identifying himself as Travis Edgkin. Tom recognizes the name from posts on various message boards devoted to the performing arts.
Edgkin says that if he's in an Internet café with an extra Abe Lincoln sheet of paper in his pocket, he'll fold it into the feeder, jump onto the Mindweb, and lay a couple of droppings out there. In short: he frequently posts. While Tom is closing the door on the year, Edgkin is closing the door on an era of his life. He announces plans to step down from his current perch and settle into the marshmallowy cocoon of being a mere DJ like Tommy Gun. The hard-edged Edgkin says that he's always envied TG's ability to work for The Man. Since his quills are always exposed, it's been hard for him to fit into the mediocrity balloon without popping it.
Tom disputes the notion that he operates from inside this subpar enclosure. Edgkin explains that Tom is not a mediocre talent, but he's fighting the good fight from within the big, old, cushy WFMU machine. He points out that it's a big step up from the pirate radio station he runs out of the back of his van. Edgkin broadcasts to the real people -- "denizens" compared to Tom's "listeners" -- who are within 50 feet on the street. He asks Tom if he knows what he's saying. Tom admits that he doesn't really get it, although he concludes that Edgkin is apparently hijacking someone else's over-the-air signal. Edgkin prefers to think of it as an act of liberation. He says that a hijacker takes an airplane somewhere where it wants to go, whereas he wakes the plane up and directs it to a place it didn't even know it wanted to be. The convoluted aviation analogy does little to aid Tom's understanding of this peculiar project.
Edgkin says that he decided to slough off his titles and sigils to go under the new moniker of DJ. Tom correctly interprets this to mean that Edgkin is making a leap into the world of legitimate radio. Edgkin says he sent his tapes to Tom so he could get a slot inside the WFMU Corporate Machine. Tom informs him that WFMU is a completely listener-sponsored station, not a corporate monolith. At this point Edgkin asks Tom to join him for a Logic Walk to hash out these ownership issues. Tom hesitantly agrees to the stroll, and Edgkin guides him through four key stops:
1. Listeners send in money. (Check)
2. This money supports the station. (Check)
3. The station lives on the money from listeners. (Tom clarifies that it covers the yearly operating budget and a few bare-bones salaried employees.)
4. The listeners are all off the grid -- free-minded poets, painters, and others not on the government or corporate payroll. (Tom says they come from all walks of life.)
Edgkin asks Tom if some of these walks take place in the hallways of power. Tom assumes that based on the sheer volume of pledges, some people hold powerful jobs. Edgkin takes this as an admission that there is poison in the system. He thanks Tom for coming on the Logic Walk and lets go of his hand. Edgkin asks Tommy Gun if he's cold because the door of his cage has been opened to let the truth blow in. He explains that a tentacle often doesn't know it's attached to the corporate octopus. In other words, the corporation always needs a couple of wild, flagellating tentacles like Tommy Gun. Edgkin says that its lifeblood ultimately comes from the War Machine, the Wal-Mart Machine, or the Processed Food Machine. He declines to judge Tom for the tainted nourishment.
Edgkin suggests that it's easier to be a corporate DJ than to work along the margins of society. Tom realizes that Edgkin thinks he's doing something very pure. Edgkin avoids the term "pure" because he embraces all the darkness and garbage of life. However, he certainly wouldn't label himself a DJ. He uses a wide range of more accurate descriptions, including sonic bard, doorway, philosopher king, fog wanderer, monkeywrench, warrior poet, pocket savior, guttersnipe, paladin of the lost hour, and a night dancer on the ruined balustrade of the forgotten citadel of impossible secrets. Edgkin says he reads the full list, which includes 50 additional items, as the introduction to his show.
His basic point is that Tom is probably in a state of shock about his varied skill set, not unlike finding out that Bob Dylan was selling Victoria's Secret lingerie. Edgkin says he was looking forward to hearing Tom critique his work. Tom characterizes the material he heard on the tapes as kind of messy, but Edgkin argues that this messiness is true to life. Tom revises his take to focus on the amateurish and indulgent qualities of the sample reel. Edgkin finds it interesting and weird that whenever the sheep meet the passionate and pure they call them indulgent and amateurish. He doesn't judge Tom for putting up this protective shield because fear is a fuel source. Edgkin, who is a fan of The Best Show, makes it clear that Tom is not a fearful person. He then raises the question of whether The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was just a singer. Tom says he's not much of fan of Morrison in any mode. Edgkin understands Tom's position because sometimes it's hard to step up to that level. He wants to show Tom that he can totally work within the teeth of the WFMU gears. Tom gives him the go-ahead for a brief on-air audition.
Edgkin is sure that Tom knows the standard format of his Newbridge pirate radio show: five hours of overlapping freeform with five albums playing simultaneously, two of which are spinning backwards. The musical din is interspersed with dialogue samples from The Princess Bride and The Big Lebowski. Edgkin says his goal is to gently dig his claws deep into his denizens. He asks Tom for permission to take his listeners on a Truth Ride through his world. Tom notes that Edgkin seems to fancy himself as some kind of truth arbiter. He wants to get a taste of his vaunted truthiness.
Edgkin asks Tom to imagine that he's ironically playing Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica alongside Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth going backwards. He then randomly inserts Inigo Montoya's dialogue while his barely audible voice emerges in the mix:
Label on the tangerine.
Are you walkin' the edge?
Is your straight line really a curly-que?
What chair did you pay for?
(whispers) Take that jacket off.
Edgkin grants listeners a minute to recover from his offbeat poetry. Tom says that everyone made it through the segment without incident. Edgkin asks Tom if he played any music tonight. Tom says he played George Harrison's "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" from Dark Horse in the opening set. Edgkin recognizes Harrison as the "sellout Beatle" and proceeds to use this track to test out the song introductions that he's been practicing. Edgkin asks Tom if his bing-bang! cling-clang! theatrics were similar to how he does it. Tom says that he sounded more like an overexcited, oldies station DJ. Edgkin says he was under the impression that Tom trafficked in that kind of ossified, calcified corporate slang to cocoon the listener in the gentle jelly of compromise. Tom denies any attempts to gelatinize his audience with such tactics. Edgkin tells Tommy Gun that he's not mad at WFMU or even VH1 for not returning his calls. He expresses sympathy for the people trapped in these enterprises, but he also admires those who can live in their tin cans and subsist on a steady diet of reconstituted noodles. Edgkin says this is a lifestyle unfit for a dark rider on the edge of the desert of doubt.
Tom says that WFMU, unlike Clear Channel's Z-100, is staffed by unpaid volunteers. Edgkin questions this claim based on the crazy tales he's heard about WFMU having a microwave, tea-making accessories, and bags of snacks. Tom argues that the presence of snacks in a small kitchen area is not exactly an indicator of corporate largess. He thinks Edgkin is viewing things strictly in black and white extremes. Edgkin says that Tom is trying to separate things into tiny categories, while he's looking to embrace The All. He refuses to discard any speck of cultural detritus. Edgkin believes that embracing The Machine is the first step to gaining access in order to eventually topple it from the inside. He thinks that he and Tom could work together next year to reduce WFMU to rubble and build something new in its place. Tom informs Edgkin that he doesn't want to blow up the radio station. Edgkin sees this reluctance for destruction as further proof that Tom remains caged and nestled into the corporate teat. He knows that living beings generally don't want to get pulled away from the warmth of their food source, so he plans to rip Tommy Gun out of that embryo. Tom concludes that Edgkin is nuts in the best sense of the word. He appreciates his passion, but he's put off by an attitude that positions his self-proclaimed purity above a world littered with damaged goods.
Edgkin asks Tom to hold on for a second while he talks to one of his roommates. He yells at Ryan to keep the lid on a pot because something needs to steep for two more minutes. Ryan ignores the request in an apparent act of sabotage. Edgkin returns to the line to explain that he's embroiled in a to-do with his roommates about a low-sodium diet that requires a lot of pouch-based food. (Edgkin is 48.) He laments that Ryan enjoys upsetting him by prematurely releasing the steam from his cooking vessels. An increasingly agitated Edgkin tells Tom that he needs to move out and find his own place. He's experiencing back pain and often wakes up with a sore neck. Edgkin proposes a surefire way to alleviate his mounting misery: a steady income from those WFMU bucks. Tom says that he's barking up the wrong money tree if he thinks WFMU will provide a big payday. Edgkin says his friend who writes for Real Time with Bill Maher told him a similar pack of lies when he wanted to submit some jokes. The friend claimed that the staff didn't make much money. Edgkin knows that they make a lot of HBO bucks. He starts crying as he talks about people closing the door once they make it through.
Edgkin begs for Tommy Gun's assistance because his five roommates formed an alliance against him. He always flags everything on his TiVo as Keep Until I Delete, but they change it to When Space Needed. The gang's covert DVR manipulation prevents him from seeing any of his shows. Edgkin is particularly upset that they deleted a backlog of saved episodes of Showtime's The Tudors. Tom is sorry for his loss, but he doesn't know what else to tell him. Edgkin says an influx of WFMU bucks is just what he needs after a rough 2008. He finally breaks down and explicitly asks Tom for a show on the station. Tom agrees to forward the demo to the decision-makers, but he wants to make sure that Edgkin knows it's not a paying gig. Edgkin accepts that Tom needs to say that on the air to keep out the riff-raff. He is willing to play the game to get his desired WFMU loot. Tom says there is no such currency in circulation to enable a quick cash-grab.
Edgkin asks Tom if he can borrow some funds to buy a money order. He doesn't want to divulge any of the details on the air, but the amount will require Tommy Gun to release the WFMU money spigot. Tom tells Edgkin that he has never made a cent from his radio show. In fact, all of the DJs have to dip into their own pockets to cover expenses. Edgkin says he will keep playing along until the spigot is opened. He bids Tommy Gun goodbye because the call is running into Ryan's stupid phone time. Tom tells him to have a great night and hang in there. Edgkin says he's out there riding and hangs up. Tom utters an "ew buoy" to punctuate his failure to get a handle on poor Edgkin's skewed perception of the station. There is little solace to be found on Line 2.
- Spike, the tap dancer on the cracked slats of the forgotten orange crate of shattered dreams, says he'd like to find out which medications the last caller was taking. Tom isn't privvvy to his specific prescriptions, but he agrees that the discombobulated Edgkin was clearly off in his assessment of WFMU. Spike says he didn't get him at all and wonders why everyone thinks he's strange compared to bizarre callers like Edgkin. Tom feigns ignorance about Spike's reputation. Spike cackles and explains that many Best Show listeners find him weird. Tom wants Spike to make his case for retaining the opening slot that he's annexed in recent years. Spike says he's prompt and always gets through during the 8:20 to 8:30 time period. Tom is a bit insulted that the line is never busy, but he knows that Spike is right.
Tom urges the erratic Spike to starting bringing some action-packed stories. Spike gets off to a promising start by referencing Edgkin's pleas for WFMU bucks as a lead-in to his disgust about being solicited for money while waiting for the subway or the Long Island Rare-ro. He's says it's particularly bad in Penn Station where the people begging for change are dressed better than him. Tom is surprised to hear that there are people in NYC who exceed Spike's sartorial splendor. He asks Spike to describe his typical outfit. Spike says that he favors casual attire: slacks or jeans, a nice shirt, and jacket. Tom asks Spike how much he gives the bejeweled panhandlers. Spike denies all requests unless someone looks authentically down-and out. Tom approves the fair-enough policy and steers the conversation to Spike's Christmas.
Spike says it was a lovely and quiet day with his family. While Santa didn't get him a Zune, he did buy a second iPod (120 gb). Tom questions whether Spike really needs that much space for his digital music collection. Spike says his current library of 12,000 songs already filled an 80 gb iPod. He needed the new device to store Del-Vikings outtakes and other quality recordings by The Ronettes, Lesley Gore, and The Shangri-Las. Tom asks about Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles, but Spike still doesn't do Jay-D and flat-out hates Séance. Tom incorrectly assumes that he prefers the Snoop Dogg discography. He suggests Amy Beertent as possible contemporary artist with a spot in Spike's playlists. Spike says he's never heard of this singer. Tom explains that it's actually Amy Winehouse adapted into one of his horrifying jokes. Spike says he only likes the avid skier's aptly-titled smash single "Rehab." Tom is convinced that he likes someone who released music after the 1960s, but Spike draws a blank. My guesses: early-period The Pharcyde, late-period Urge Overkill, or Nellie McKay.
Fredericks of New Port Richey comes on the line, causing Spike to go MIA beyond his delayed voice on FoNPR's radio. Fredericks tells the sissy not to run away and starts calling for him as though he was a dog. Tom joins the search party just as Ben
CrockKharakh fills in for Spike. Fredericks hopes that Ben is not calling from inside his house. Ben says he was buzzed in by Mike, and Fredericks welcomes him into his den. After they exchange pleasantries, Fredericks reveals that he's suffering from a bad muscle in the middle of his back that hurts like Hell and restricts his breathing. Ben wonders if he strained it while lifting heavy boxes. Fredericks says that he was lifting his own body weight on a pull-up bar he got for Christmas. He devised a plan to gradually work up to the USMC standard of 22 consecutive pull-ups by doing a series of smaller sets. Unfortunately, he was sidelined after only his second day of workouts. Ben asks him if he's training for enlistment in active duty. Fredericks says he's just trying to stay alive and defy the forces of gravity. Since his life doesn't allow him to hang upside down for extended periods of time, he's relying on regular exercise as the only other way to halt the aging process.
Ben questions the benefits of upside-down hanging because he often goes weeks without being in this position. Fredericks says that he had to take action after his mirror showed him sagging in places he's never sagged before. Ben confirms that the ultimate goal of hanging upside-down is to cause that which sags down to sag up. Fredericks says that would be the result if he could do it eight hours a day. He is momentarily rattled by some kind of psychedelic interruption that sounds like a plane flying overhead. Ben notices that the disturbed phone connection is making Fredericks sounds like robot. Fredericks says he actually wanted to propose a topic about the possibility that we are all robots. When the noise returns Ben wonders if Fredericks is attempting to travel through time. Fredericks suggests that he found a wormhole to enter a different dimension within the same time-space continuum. He points out that people get older in every dimension unless they are bodyless and don't notice.
Fredericks transitions from theoretical vampire physics to news of a plot similar to the recent Barry Madoff scandal. He tells Ben that a leather-jacketed hoodlum is going around hitting the sides of jukeboxes to get free music. It's a Fonzie scheme. Ben sees that Fredericks has substituted the Happy Days character for the investment fraud namesake in the punchline. Fredericks senses that Ben didn't think the joke worked. Ben actually encourages Fredericks to stick to his daily routine of exercising, taking a breather, and then crafting some material. Fredericks says he lifted the timely titter from another program. He does, however, think about Fonzie from time to time, and more lately than he has in well over a decade. Fredericks assumes that Ben knows about the phenomenon where things from the past pop back into your mind. Ben says it happens all the time. Fredericks wants an example to prove that he really gets it.
Ben starts to talk about his educational background as a philosophy major before Spike returns with a vengeance. Fredericks orders the intruder to leave his den because he's got everything under control. Spike tells Frederick to cool it and tries to regain authority. Fredericks laughs nicotinely at this rebuke. He softens his stance and welcomes Spike to pull up a stool or a moving blanket (no couches available.) Ben knows that Spike has a den, so he asks about decorating advice for Fredericks. He recommends his favorite piece of furniture: a crate. Julie from Cincinnati says howdy to Fredericks, although she prefers talking to Tom. She doesn't hear Ben's request for a description of the dish, so Fredericks repeats the question. Julie says it's spicy, tastes good, and has an appealing glummy-chewy texture. Fredericks correctly guesses that it's chicken. An impressed JfC asks him where he comes from, but Tom has to dismiss the entire quartet due to someone spoiling the session with toilet talk. Tom feels weirdly purified after clearing the decks for 2008.
[More to come.]
- Sean in Rampbridge calls to chime in on the topic with a thoughtful high point: making it through another year. Tom agrees that people often lose sight of The Big Picture and fail to appreciate just being alive. Sean says it's easy to get caught up in the minutiae of daily life that doesn't matter in the end. Tom thinks it's a great point. Sean selects the crash as his low point. Tom assumes he's referring to the global financial crisis, which led to the worst stock market returns since the 1930s. Sean says that he was actually a passenger on the ill-fated Flight 254 out of Newbridge Intranational Airport a couple of weeks ago. Tom does recall hearing the news about the plane that never made it into the air. Sean reports that as the plane was taxiing out of the gate to prepare for takeoff, it somehow lost control and skidded off the runway. While there was no fire, a lot of people suffered severe bruising and broken bones. Sean says that he's very thankful because it could have been much worse. Tom is also glad that everyone made it out relatively unscathed.
Sean says that he was nominated as the spokesperson for his fellow passengers and assigned to do the bulk of the TV and radio appearances. The day after the crash he was interviewed by the likes of Katie Couric and Brian Williams as the local story earned some national exposure. Tom says he did see a lot of coverage about the shocking incident. Sean says that he's still devastated by the whole thing. Tom can only imagine what it's like to be in the middle of a situation that terrifying. Sean says he can't really describe the intense event beyond calling it "awful." Tom was talking about the scary slide off the runway, but Sean downplays that aspect because everyone knew they were going to survive. He is in a state of disbelief about how he looked at sounded during the subsequent media tour.
Tom is a bit thrown off by the revelation because Sean seemed confident about his role. The charismatic Sean says that he gladly accepted the job, but he was horrified when he watched and listened to himself outside of his normal visualization sphere. Tom understands that you often have a different image of yourself in your head. In this case, Sean discovered that he was way balder than he ever thought. He was under the impression that his hair was on par with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's helmet, but it was nothing like that. Tom points out that it would be hard for anyone to match that grade of preternatural thickness. Sean thinks his sparsely-populated head is sickening and embarrassing.
He's reluctant to document his equally disappointing facial features because he could barely believe that he was the owner of droopy jowls more commonly seen on deformed hippopotamuses. Sean says that he'd been growing a beard for the past two years to counteract his admittedly "full" jowls. He thought the facial hair would camouflage the flabby protrusions, but it just created the gross illusion that the torso of a dying, albino chipmunk was hanging off his chin. Tom chuckles at the vivid description. Sean also believes that the incredibly weak chin that serves as the rodent ledge could be mistaken for a child's pinkie finger. Sean asks Tom if he can picture this sick collage. Tom says he wouldn't call it sick. Sean says it's at least unappetizing, but Tom assures him that everyone has their share of physical shortcomings. Sean points out that most people don't have bags under their eyes that could be assigned their own zip code, time zone, or other means of encapsulating something that is outrageously oversized. He hates the sickening scope of these blemishes. Tom tells Sean that he's probably exaggerating.
Sean says it's all true, and he hasn't even mentioned the worst part of the package: his pathetic voice. Tom says his voice sounds fine over the radio. Sean expected to sound as commanding as vintage Orson Welles, but during the interviews he came off like a child whose McDonaldand action figures were taken from his lunchpail. Tom says that he doesn't sound like that at all. Sean says that his whiny tones are the main reason for his call. He hopes that he's not getting too personal, but he wants to know where Tom gets his. Tom has no idea what he's talking about. Sean thinks Tom should tell him because they are both vocally-challenged guys. He's referring to Tom's VM. Tom denies owning or using a voice modulator. Sean says that everyone can hear Tom hitting the buttons and working the toggle switches right now.
Tom wishes he could help him out, but he, like many other callers, is way off base with this accusation. Sean wants to mimic the commanding-yet-robotic vocals he heard earlier this month from Kanye West during an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Tom also saw West perform two tracks from his polarizing, Auto-Tune-laden 808s & Heartbreak record. Sean suspects that West is using the TS-500, while Tom is using the TS-478, an apparent change from his beloved VoiceMod® DeepTone 500. Tom says that Sean can rattle off model numbers all night long, but he knows nothing about voice modulators.
Sean wants to give Tom the Paypal address for his plastic surgery fund. Tom declines the offer and recommends that Sean return to his admirable sentiment about appreciating life. Sean says that he wants to celebrate being around in 2008 in theory, but he's only doing well in the sense that he's still breathing. However, Sean hopes to drastically improve his condition by undergoing jowl-displacement surgery, an exciting new technique where doctors extract fatty tissue -- more of a fatty beach towel for this potential patient -- from the bulging cheeks and inject it into weak chins and pathetic, narrow calves. Sean doesn't want to get into the horrors of his lower legs, but he does claim that this past summer he saw a young girl throw up after looking at his calves. Tom thinks he's imagining that scenario. Sean says it could happen.
Sean found out that there is only one surgeon in whatever hemisphere this is (Western per Tom) who can do the rare procedure. He will have to travel to Eastern Guam for the fat transfers. Tom starts to comment on this strange medical sojourn, but he's interrupted by a loud squeak. Sean is now wielding an air horn. After a few more blasts ring out, Tom asks him why he's suddenly blowing it. Sean says he's kind of known for his air horn work. Tom asks him to refrain from his specialty during the call. Sean mentions that they also asked him to keep it quiet when Flight 254 was attempting takeoff. He recalls blowing it right before the plane crashed. Tom suspects that this eruption may have contributed to the plane's errant path. Sean doubts it because his air horn is not that audible. He quickly disproves this by issuing several very loud toots. Tom thinks it's a horrible noise, but Sean says that everyone thinks it's fun. Tom is pretty sure that there are others who would willingly join him in the anti-air horn camp.
He asks Sean where he typically uses the air horn besides the cabin of a commercial airliner. Sean says producers prohibited him from using it during his interview segments, but he was able to bring it out last week at his uncle Giuseppe's funeral (nobody liked it) and at his nephew's recent birthday party (he loved it; his mother hated it). Tom is not surprised to hear that it's been garnering mixed reviews. Sean asks Tom to get a second opinion from call screener Giuseppe. He hopes that they will listen with an open mind. Sean emits a few more blasts that start to adversely affect his hearing. At this point Mike has heard enough to officially go on the record as not liking the air horn. Sean proceeds to perform a series of discordant notes that Tom suspects may be a song. Sean is glad Tom recognized it as an actual composition and asks him to name that tune. Tom clarifies that he could only tell that Sean was trying to play a song. Sean runs through the well-known track for a second time. Tom is still stumped, so Sean sings a verse:
Out on the street for a living
Pictures only begun
Got you under their thumb
Tom now realizes that he was doing an air horn cover of Kiss's "Black Diamond." He renews his request for Sean to stop playing the instrument over the air.
He asks Sean why anyone should donate via Paypal to help him get jowl-displacement surgery. Sean says he has to keep up his appearance. Tom bites on the tease and asks for a reason. Sean says he's the face of Port-o-John Monthly, one of the top four Construction Worksite Portable Sanitation Service Magazines (CWPSSMs). The magazine covers all the comings and goings in the world of portable sanitation devices on construction worksites throughout North America. He calls Tom a munch for not being aware of his publishing career. Tom notes that when someone says they're in the top four, they are usually in the fourth slot. Sean wants to know the implication of this comment. Tom says that he's implying that there are three better/more popular CWPSSMs on the market. Sean says that's correct. Tom doesn't understand why someone employed by this trade publication requires what sounds like extensive plastic surgery. Sean says it's no secret that ConSaniCon, presumably another Paul Higgins/Conventions, Inc. production, is coming up in March 2009. Tom guesses that it's some kind of toilet trade show. Sean cites Tom for disrespect because it's a full-on Construction Site Sanitation Convention.
In a nutshell, Sean is tired of losing advertising revenue to nemesis Bradford Devonshire, the publisher of SaniJon Monthly, the nation's premier CWPSSM. He says that Devonshire, who looks like a male model, causes ladies to start pawing themselves when he walked past them. Sean finds the scenes kind of erotic. However, when Devonshire crosses his path, he responds with the air horn. Tom reminds him to stop because the sound is amplified in his headphones. Sean describes Bradford's good looks as a cross between Top 40 DJ Rick Dees and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak. Tom asks him if this is good combination. Sean says that Devonshire is a gorgeous man. He's certain that his appearance has an impact on his ability to sell ad space in the pages of SaniJon Monthly.
Sean says that he's aggressively beating the sidewalks to get the surgery completed in time to blow Devonshire out of the heavily-treated, sanitized blue water at ConSaniCon. Tom asks him how much he needs for the procedures. Sean estimates the costs at upwards of $35,000. Tom expresses doubt that he could secure that much money from online donations. Sean reveals that he will aid the cause by dipping into the fund of the Sanitation Magazine Union. Tom asks him how much he could possibly skim from that organization. Sean, who serves as the Treasurer, says they just had their big fundraiser, a four-day extravagonza that yielded $700. Tom says that's a mere drop in the bucket of what he needs to go to Guam. Sean thinks it will at least pay for a small fat injection ... down below. Tom thinks (hopes?) he's talking about calve enhancements. Sean says the injection would be up a little bit. Tom doesn't want to know anything else about the destination. His fears are realized when Sean identifies his ploople pop as the target area. Tom is unfamiliar with this body part and has no plans to research it.
Sean returns to the original topic to mention the real worst thing in 2008. He's not sure how Tom managed to lead them so far astray. Tom is also puzzled about how he supposedly orchestrated the detour. Sean takes a moment to blast the air horn for one simple reason: it's fuuuuuuuun. Tom tells Sean that saying it's fun doesn't make it so. Sean has fun 16 more times, and the sounds comprise the second song of his set. He doesn't think there's any way Tom won't guess it. Tom, God help him, requests another listen. Sean happily grants it with a hint that it's the introduction just before the vocals kick in. He then performs the main riff (via mouth not horn) and sings the opening verse from what Tom knows as Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song." Sean claims that the correct title is "I Come From the Land of Ice and Snow." He agrees to disagree with Tom about the Led Zeppelin III leadoff track.
Sean says the worst thing of the year was the Presidential election because his guy didn't win. Tom assumes that he is a disappointed John McLame supporter, but Sean rejects the Republican candidate as an equally disastrous choice. He refuses to even acknowledge Tom's mention of Barack Obama. Sean was hoping the forceful-yet-unhinged Rick Keller would get the nod to head the ticket of his preferred third party. However, the WRAHSP delegates nominated the clownish Walt Fredericks. Sean can't believe that Tom has never heard of the White Rage American Hate Speech Party. He says that he was sure they were going to the White House, which has an appropriate Caucasian name. Tom denounces the WRAHSP movement.
Sean senses that Tom wasn't following the whole Fredericks situation. Tom confirms that the WRAHSP was off his radar during the historic campaign. Sean regrets that Fredericks lacked the integrity required to muster full-blown hate and settled for strong dislike speech. Keller, on the other hand, has a rap sheet the size of his jowls. Tom wonders if this is a positive component of his resume. Sean says it shows that Keller is committed to getting the job done just like former President Chester Arthur. Tom asks Sean how many votes WHRASP candidates get in general elections. Sean says they get tons, and Fredericks did particularly well this year with 0.2% of the vote in the WRAHSP stronghold of Southwestern Idaho. Tom wants to know what that translates into for the total number of votes. Sean says that if invisible was a number, it would represent the final Fredericks tally.
Tom finds it odd that Sean thought the party had a legitimate shot at the White House based on these minuscule returns in a sliver of a state with no swing. Sean envisioned a band of WHRASPers storming the White House with whips and mallets to take office by force. He unveils their plan to seal the deal by approaching the gates, shaking the bars with one hand, and raising the other on the count of three. As the throng of hatemongers stood at the brink of power, they were ready to do something that sounded like a proclamation from the Lord himself. Sean picks up his air horn and demonstrates the clarion call that would lead them to the promised land. Tom still hates it. Sean does another countdown and summons the Lord again. Tom is glad to hear what appears to be the air horn's dying gasps. Sean says that after entering the White House they would take all the paintins and pitchers before approaching the President:
WRAHSP OPERATIVE: Hey.
[LOUD AIR HORN]
Sean sings a snippet of "Black Diamond" to usher him into his new home. Tom thinks Sean has no idea how the electoral process work. Sean thinks of something that Tom doesn't have. He uses that something to deliver a parting toot and hangs up. Tom declares the air horn the worst thing he's ever heard. He sends out another H-Man get well before Sean returns for one more aural attack. He got the last laugh on Tommy Gun.
On the Next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Tommy Tornado rips the lid off his 10th (!!!!!!!!!!) season of family-friendly fun.