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Paul A. Toth Archive

Paul A. Toth

Secret Lives of the World’s Greatest Composers: Mozart

June 8th, 2012
by Paul A. Toth

Despite my ability to fluently write and speak thirty-nine different languages, the four Ph.D.’s I’ve earned, my work as an archeologist, forensic pathologist, pre-Socratic philosopher, neurological surgeon, mime, locksmith, zoologist, and janitor - despite it all — I could never rest until now, when I can finally share the results of the eighty-five years I’ve spent unveiling the secret lives of music’s greatest composers.

It started with a hobby, my part-time position as an unlicensed psychiatrist, which prepared me for this project. It may well be said that this physician failed to cure himself, much less his patients, but my gracious colleagues ensured me they, too, never failed to fail.

Born immune to the culturally-bankrupt “music” known as the blues, I found my succor in Western culture’s highest achievement: the arrangement of notes into compositions that required great minds to explain how the masses could pretend they enjoyed the greatest music the world has ever ignored.

Leaving that task to others, I instead chose to explore the lives of these almost-tolerated geniuses. I selected my subjects based on a simple litmus test: Had they served as the subject of at least one major motion picture?

And with that, let us begin with the obvious and regress to the oblique as we explore the secret life of Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 250 A.D. to Roman parents, Irrititus Alotus, a hot-tempered shoes salesman, and Lustus Allmaleus, a seductive and highly-successful nymphomaniac. When pulled from the womb, Alotus immediately struck the boy in the head with a frying pan. Mozart, whose parents waited fifteen before naming their child, was rendered deaf in both ears and suffered brain damage as a result of the assault, which in turn led to the one factual element portrayed by 1997 film Amadeus: a mind-splintering giggle that would result in many more blows to the head.

To escape Alotus’ violence, Mozart fled to the Galapagos Islands in 1200 B.C., building a canoe with botched crosses imported from Jerusalem and employed as torture devices during Rome’s Spanish Inquisition.  Incredibly, modern scientific technology has proven Mozart the first human being to ever visit the islands.
Landing at Santiago, Mozart endured temperatures as low as 69 degrees. He survived by constructing a three-bedroom bamboo hut. In freezing temperatures, Mozart solved his boredom by studying the sounds made by birds and insects. Despite having never heard a single musical instrument or undergone the slightest musical training, Mozart translated these sounds into musical notes. Soon, he began carving his first compositions in tree trunks.

“The Tree Compositions” disappeared over the following 2600 years. Only one example remains. It was discovered by Charles Darwin in 1965 and immediately Fed-Ex’d to Art.com. But Darwin discovered something far more compelling in 1323, facts recorded but deleted from his never-completed journal, “Sex, Sex and More Sex.” By using MRI technology, forensic mythologists, aided by physician handwriting interpreters, recovered much of the deleted material in their examination of Darwin’s notes. In doing so, they revealed one of the biggest secrets of Mozart’s life.

In those passages, Darwin remarked upon observations he deemed unnecessary to his theory. The notes, rambling and nearly unintelligible due to the penicillin-resistant strep throat Darwin contracted in 1769, contain only a few lucid passages. One of those passages will forever change our understanding of Mozart.
Darwin writes, “One day on Santiago, while studying the Arctocephalus galapagoensis, I noticed that dozens of these creatures had apparently been violated in a region of the body the naming of which would be unsuitable for this journal’s audience. (Note to self: This may sell. Rethink decision later.)  I knew only one man had been to this island before me: Mozart. I recognized immediately that this supposedly- cultured man, barred from relations with women until he departed Galapagos in 1892, was the culprit, foisting himself upon these helpless creatures. With one mission remaining, I stopped in Haiti on my way home and consulted a witch doctor, requesting that he cast a curse upon Mozart.”

The Arctocephalus galapagoensis, or Galapagos fur seal, and specifically fur, propelled Mozart into a promiscuity that began the moment he returned to civilization. Leaving in the same craft that had carried him to Galapagos, Mozart eventually landed on the shores of Kazakhstan in 1899, completing a six-year journey. During the voyage, Mozart carved new compositions into the floor of his canoe, creating leaks and the need to drink and spit out the waters threatening to literally sink his ship.

Upon his arrival, the boat promptly disintegrated. Local villagers, frightened by the wig Mozart had taken to wearing during his Santiago years, grabbed the remaining boards and beat the composer out of what senses remained. From that day forward, Mozart, already deaf, lost the ability to feel, see, taste, and smell.
The villagers left Mozart to the lack of his lack of devices. He spent the night on the beach and, testing his abilities, learned that the only sound he could still produce was the giggle that had led to giggle. Tortured by memories of an unconsummated love for one of the seals, and tormented by hallucinations of frying pans, Mozart sprinted into the vast and flat plains populated by intellectually-vacuous peasants, a scene familiar to those who’ve visited Kansas.

As spears, arrows and rocks grazed his flesh, Mozart unknowing headed into the desert that would eventually become known as Russia. He arrived in Moscow, exploding with musical ideas and his sexual obsession with the fur seals he would neither forget nor ever see again.

He wandered the streets. At one point, which most historians date as occurring sometime between the years of 1498 and 1814, Mozart happened across a street pianist. Hearing the notes he had until then merely imagined, he frantically searched for the source, but he saw no birds or insects, only the man on a bench, tapping upon a strange device. Stopping between pieces, the pianist looked up and noticed the disoriented and half-naked human specimen now leaning on his piano, eyes closed. Assuming Mozart to be a narcoleptic idiot, the pianist took his unconscious superior to the local hospital. It was there that hospital records, only recently released by the Russian government, tell another secret tale.

Familiar with the disorder, Mozart’s doctors treated him by way of cocaine. Released from the hospital with a lifelong prescription for the drug, Mozart rode the White Pony for the rest of his years. Fortunately, the doctors had sympathized with the senseless, giggling composer, and before his departure, gave him enough money to support his living at hotel for two months. Mozart, walking on cocaine legs, covered the one hour walk in thirty-five seconds. The doctors, knowing his inability to speak, had made arrangements with the hotel, and Mozart was attended to with special care by the matron, one Zhamaryspechikov Zavajhanovovich, a widow whose inheritance had made her a wealthy business owner. Nevertheless, Zavajhanovovich was lonely and often “visited” her male lodgers late at night.

In this manner, Zavajhanovovich went to Mozart’s room at midnight. Upon opening the door, she witnessed the composer in a furious cocaine power-wanking session, in which it can be surmised that Mozart’s mind was filled with visions of fur seals. Knowing an opportunity when she spotted one, Zavajhanovovich stripped off her clothes and revealed another kind of fur, then pounced upon her willing prey. Mozart and Zavajhanovovich married half an hour later.
Now living permanently in the hotel, Zavajhanovovich taught her husband how to write. One day into the honeymoon, Mozart could communicate his thoughts in thirteen languages, and, except for his music, this provided his sole means of communication.

One morning, Mozart handed Zavajhanovovich a note in which he asked that she go to the market and purchase for him new ears, eyes, tongue, nose, and “if possible,” nervous system. When she responded with the silence of the stunned, Mozart jotted a second note: “Never mind. But please obtain 185 exterminators to eradicate the liquid spiders dripping from the ceiling, which is melting.”

Thus, we arrive at the solution to a psychiatric mystery. Often diagnosed as bipolar, Mozart instead developed paranoid schizophrenia from his constant use of cocaine. Recent studies solidified the diagnosis by revealing that 100 percent of paranoid schizophrenics hallucinated insects, birds and fur seals whenever listening to Mozart’s music via I-Pods supplied by researchers.

Deeply worried, Zavajhanovovich took Mozart to the office of a charlatanosk, the era’s equivalent of a psychiatrist. This charlatanosk, centuries ahead of his time, provided the exact treatment a modern psychiatrist would administer in such a case, doubling Mozart’s medication. This doctor, whose name remains unknown, became Mozart’s lifelong friend, and the doctor’s monthly requests for greater compensation were met with instant approval. Mozart recorded the sole in his diary. Having protested for ten minutes, he writes, “Liquid spiders began dripping from the ceiling, which was also melting.” He instantly paid the requested fee.

Mozart’s career left the launching pad in 1413, just as the Russian Revolution began. Zavajhanovovich, labeled a bourgeois capitalist by the newly-formed government, was arrested and sent to Siberia during what historians would later call “seventeen days that changed some of the world for a while.” Mozart proved immune to sorrow; he reports in his diary that he “never stopped imagining my sweet wife as a far sweeter fur seal.”

His career survived the chaos to come, then thrived as communist officials rushed to witness the “giggling idiot.” After expressing his desire to copulate with Stalin’s mustache, Mozart was arrested. Though originally pre-sentenced to death, Mozart’s fortunes turned when Stalin recognized that executing the world-renowned prisoner would create too great a public relations crisis. He was released in 1642 and sent to the czar, who proclaimed the composer a Hero of the Soviet Union.

The final secret of Mozart’s life regards his death. Long the subject of intense scrutiny and conspiracy theories, not to mention a good film plot, the secret facts can now be revealed. For reasons unknown but documented by the secret witness account left by Stalin himself and made public by a different dictator yesterday, Mozart’s final words - or word - proves the power of the supernatural: “Voodoo,” he said, and breathed his last breath. A Haitian witch doctor’s curse had killed one of the world’s greatest composers.

In honor of the dead hero, Stalin arranged for the shipment of Mozart’s corpse to Galapagos, where he was buried with 25,000 fur seals executed by NKVD guards in a “Soviet Supreme Sacrifice” attended by 65,000 birds, 3,000,000 insects, and the ghost of Charles Darwin. But one last secret occurred in Mozart’s afterlife, for Soviet secret police records note that Stalin had become so obsessed with the composer that he shaved his mustache, which was placed in the coffin that now rests somewhere beneath the florid surface of Santiago Island.


Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Michael Jackson: The Final Interview

June 26th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

I wasn’t expecting my invitation to be accepted, but Michael Jackson said he  preferred being interviewed by an unknown writer whose mark on the world so far consisted of White-Out fluid from years before. I was happy to oblige and got straight to the point.

“How are you feeling about your upcoming tour?”

“What tour?”

“Your big comeback tour. You must know that a lot, even everything, is riding on this series of concerts.”

Michael’s gaze lazily trailed across the floor. “Don’t let the sun go down on me.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Interviewing Christian Slater

June 10th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

I’m sitting with Christian Slater in a well-known L.A. deli. Slater’s latest film, Dolan’s Crossing, is in wide release, in Europe, specifically Germany. I start by asking Slater the first of many delicate questions I have in mind, for I’ve been a bit beaten up during my last few interviews, and I begin this one in something of an ill temper. I think to ask his forgiveness in advance but then think twice about that and then stop thinking about it at all. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Ben Stiller: The Interview

May 26th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Ben Stiller is caustic without a cause, something like Napoleon had he served as a mere comedian/actor or, better put for his times, court jester. Stiller has the perfect life and exudes confidence to such an extent that one wonders whether confidence is a kind of systemic poison that serves as an irritant not to the person who swallowed the poison but to those within vicinity of that person. All of this is to say my interview started poorly.

“What do you want?” Stiller says. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Nine Holes with Robin Williams

May 14th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

I’m with Robin Williams on the golf course, where he insists upon hitting drives with putters and putts with woods. Ostensibly, we’re going to discuss Williams’ new movie, Night at the Museum 2, but the conversation is a narcissist’s dream of a jazzy bebop drum roll. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Interviewing the Elusive Harrison Ford

May 7th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Staring into Harrison Ford’s eyes is like watching Star Wars while mildly intoxicated: One sees stars and something scrolling, words and thoughts that have nothing to do with today. I ask him about his film legacy and he replies, “Which one?”

“How about Star Wars?”

“That was a good movie.”

“And Indiana Jones?”

“Good movies. Those were good movies.”

I struggle with a follow-up. His eyes are piercing, though what they’re piercing is uncertain. We order drinks and he begins to loosen up.

(more…)


Paul A. Toth

Those Ignorant Theists

April 30th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

In a new book reviewed by Salon here, Terry Eagleton readies the religious backlash as if the tiny minority of American atheists somehow threatens his lukewarm beliefs. His favorite tactic is to lump Christopher Hitchens together with Richard Dawkins and refer to them as “Ditchkins.” The first is a neoconservative whose book only tried to raise profits, while the second is one of the most elegant proponents of evolution who happens to feel we arrived here without the help of God just fine…though we may exit unless we rid ourselves of ill-informed beliefs.  But that, according to Eagleton, is absurd, for Eagleton himself doesn’t believe in such fundamentalist hokum as creation “science.” Why, he’s not even sure God created man.  With religions like that, who needs atheism? (more…)


Paul A. Toth

007 at 77

April 29th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Sean Connery is not a tough guy. That’s what he wants me to believe in this coffee bar that’s so hip no one knows it exists. “If I thought you were screwing me in this interview,” he says, “I might bite your balls off. But never mind that. I’m no longer double-07. I’m double-7. I wear a girdle in the few action scenes that don’t involve stuntmen, like sitting down. I’m still growing as an actor and a man.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Lunch with Janeane Garofalo

April 23rd, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Janeane Garofalo is almost 45 years old and wants you to know, “I don’t give a shit. I’ve mellowed.” We’re seated in one of L.A.’s most popular vegetarian restaurants, but I can’t give its location lest it becomes less popular. Nevertheless, Garofalo seems at ease with the diners trying to figure out just who she is, but she has an answer for that. “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” she says. Why? “Because I don’t believe in having pets, but beyond that, it was a slam at me, a typical role. I was the dog. And the only reason the guy fell in love with me was my personality. Yeah, right. That’s a bunch of fucking bullshit. Never happens. You see me with Brad Pitt? No, I’m eating with an unknown writer and watching people trying to remember having watched The Truth About Cats and Dogs. And to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

My Smokin’ Celebrity Interview with Sean Penn

April 13th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Since nearly every interview with Sean Penn immediately notes that he lights cigarettes with the regularity of old women on prune juice, Sean Penn lit his third cigarette before our interview had begun. He spent that time gazing at me as if I were some sort of fantastic form of quartz. He is, and will always be, one of Hollywood’s foremost geologists, digging up jewels of roles, which he then polishes like a rock tumbler. He lit a cigarette before finishing the other one and smoked the two simultaneously. Soon, he was smoking fifteen cigarettes at the same time. He put on his sunglasses, took them off, and put them on again. It’s a useless actor’s ploy, and he was being ironic, I’m sure of it. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Hats Off to the Pest Controller

March 20th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Yesterday, I received notice from the landlord: A pest controller would arrive in the morning and remove some type of animal from the attic spaces above all second floor apartments.  Today, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a man in a uniform climbed into the attic, where he remained for six minutes.  I heard what sounded like two hammer blows, followed by a high-pitched “Ouch, motherfucker!” Then, with a thud, it was over.  Before leaving, the man in the uniform stopped and said, “This never happened.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

The Case of the Publisher and the Silent Alarm Clock

March 7th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Now more than ever comes publishing industry’s chance to redeem itself. It might finally take chances again, though for me “again” means about the time when I was ten years old and watching Dick Cavett interviews with novelists I, even at that age, recognized as culturally dangerous. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Wear What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law

February 16th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Fashion, in the sense of a “70’s” style, is off its life support. Most people drastically switch styles during any given week, and we can thank the avatar for that. Play Dean Martin at night, the man in the gray flannel suit in the day, and call yourself an exhausted P.J. Harvey on weekend mornings. That’s the way it is and that’s way it should be. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

If Anger Is an Energy, I’ve Been Electrocuted

February 9th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

I’ve gone beyond anger. The land beyond anger is barren, arid. I’m in the Arizona of mental states.

Wait: We are going somewhere new. But first…

I miss George W. Bush. I miss him like oxygen because I once exhaled expletives, and now I choke on them. He was a gift box in which I wrapped my human nature. My nature, like all of nature, is violent. My anger is general. When I consider my anger specific, I lie to myself.

My anger doesn’t stop to smell the roses; it paints the town red with the petals. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

I Envy Everyone

February 7th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

“Envy eats nothing but its own heart.”

~German proverb

I envy everyone.

I envy you my love with your wobbly leg and neurological condition. I wonder what it’s like to have a physical reason for suffering and I wonder why my infirmities teach me nothing yet you seem to learn with every fall.

I envy other writers. I won’t read your words too closely unless you’re dead. It goes that far. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Publisher, Save Thyself

January 27th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

READ ALL ABOUT IT! PUBLISHERS CONSIDER SUICIDE!

Don’t do it! I know you deserve it, but there’s still hope. It’s this thingamabob called the imagination. You will learn what it is and how to use it, saving your so-called industry. I come with Good News!

(more…)


Paul A. Toth

Obama’s Road to Nowhere

January 26th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

In a moment, should you click “read more,” you’ll see the image that set me on the tracks to this essay. Caveat: I voted for Madonna — I mean Obama — and, I, too, wish to feel hopeful. Despite all appearances, I’ve nothing against hope; I just find it harder to maintain than most people. After all, a half-full glass of water is on its way to being empty, if only through evaporation. Pessimism, therefore, is simply good science. But wait: Here comes my train of thought, choo-choo. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Bela Lugosi’s Dead Like Hell He Is

January 22nd, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA,FL-

Though my confessions shall end in neither sainthood nor bestseller lists, I now come to my personal vampire. He survives the sun and crucifixes. I’m Hungarian and so is my Bela Lugosi. I call him OCD, but it’s the first initial by which I know him best. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

I Confess: One Month in the Hole

January 8th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

These masks
that wore me
frightened
no others,
only my

self.

Last night, those words came to me as if spoken in a play meant to enlighten me, the kind of drama I typically avoid.  The words marked the climax of the story I will tell. While I would not consider this story worthy of the higher goals of “tragedy,” it does contain the lower strains. (more…)