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Electric Boogaloo

Archive for the ‘Addiction’ Category

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…)


Matt Baldwin

Six Chambers

November 4th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

SAN DIEGO, CA –

On a late spring day in 2001 my sister’s drug-dealing ex-boyfriend crashed the pool party she was throwing at our house in the suburbs and shot two people on our front porch. He used a small, snub-nosed revolver from a distance of less than ten feet, firing off all six rounds. Five of them hit their mark.

(more…)


Gina Frangello

Pain is a Country

October 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello

CHICAGO, IL-

When you enter the country of Pain, they confiscate your passport. You leave behind the things and people that used to feel important and familiar, in which you used to believe. Everyone in the new country is a stranger, though it scarcely matters because pain is really a nation of islands, and everyone who lives there lives alone.

In 1995, while my husband and I were visiting my best friend Tom in Barcelona, I became an unintentional and surprise immigrant in the country of pain. It happened overnight, and at first I did not realize I had “moved.” I believed I had a bladder infection. I’d had them before—many, in fact, even having been hospitalized for one as a child. Sometimes when I got one, I could not close my legs for the burning; I could not stop pacing the room; I urinated blood. But the agony was always temporary. You take your antibiotics, you take your pills that make your pee turn orange, you feel a little crazy for a couple of days and then it is done.

Except this time, it was not.

(more…)


Brin Friesen

Acque Pericolose

October 29th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

MANHATTAN-

The Cuban girl peeled off a cigar box wouldn’t open the door to her apartment building and over the intercom was listing all the valid, sensible reasons under the circumstances why we would never see each other again.

I stared ahead at the security camera and held a rose against the glass of the front entrance.

While it’s true sentimental people are cruel, they’re also quite gullible.

Eventually she came down and slipped out the glass entrance and gave me a kiss goodbye. While she was mumbling apologies about it not working out and staring at me with her cigar stain eyes, I gently reached my hand into her coat pocket and stole her phone.

I kissed her goodbye, grinding a slightly devious smile against her frown, and hailed a cab to get me back into the city until she gave me a call. After all, she had my new number.

(more…)


Brin Friesen

Invisible Ink

October 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

“I leave a lot out when I tell the truth. The same when I write a story. I’m going to start now to tell you what I left out…”

-Amy Hempel (more…)


Jeremy Resnick

Mamarazza!

October 15th, 2009
by Jeremy Resnick

LOS ANGELES, CA-

My mother has a photography addiction. She just has to take pictures of her family, or, if we’re unavailable, other people’s families. It’s been going on all our lives. She says she takes so many pictures of us because she loves us so much that she just has to capture any moment in which we’re all together, and she takes pictures of other people’s families because they’re always happy when they get them from her afterward. But I think it’s more of a compulsion. Whenever her mind is allowed to rest, whenever she doesn’t have something pressing to do, she thinks, I must take a picture! I must capture this, whatever it is!

(more…)


Laura Waldon

Comic Book Hero: A Case of Mistaken Identity

October 14th, 2009
by Laura Waldon

SALEM, MA-

When we were kids, we thought that our cousin Mike was the Incredible Hulk.

I can’t recall if Mike “suggested” to my brother Chad and me that he was the mean green man, or if Chad simply saw the resemblance and thought that he had uncovered the Hulk’s plain-guy identity, but we thought we were related to a comic book hero.

At the very least, we figured that Mike was Lou Forigno’s body double: he was a short, sculpted bodybuilder with a massive, muscular chest and arms, and he had that signature Lou Forigno/Patrick Swayze feathered hair. Certainly they wouldn’t overlook him as Forigno’s wingman to take a stunt-beating on-film.

We were maybe six and seven—Chad my elder by a year—when Chad charged the neighbor kids a nickel

(more…)


John L. Singleton

Chicken Wing Floozie

October 5th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

I left home when I was in high school without a diploma and shacked up with a floozie. I call her a floozie not just because my mother called her that, but because she was a floozie. She was a floozie to end all floozies. If being a floozie was anything like being in the Army she’d have been a general. And instead of painting skulls on her helmet to represent vanquished opponents, she’d have painted dicks, to represent vanquished dicks. And to accommodate all the dicks she’d need something like a million helmets and a whole convoy just to transport them.

(more…)


Tom Hansen

On Junk

October 3rd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE WA-

When I began taking writing courses in college, my instructors at some point all mentioned one thing; write what you know.

What does that mean? What does anyone know? What did I know? I was familiar with, and informed about many things, but ‘knowing’ implied a more intimate relationship than the commonplace knowledge that everyone knows. I knew a little bit about playing music, a bit about this, a bit about that. Nothing special, not like the adventures some of my literary heroes had lived through and subsequently wrote about. But there was one thing. One thing I knew more than anything else, one thing in my life that I’d been totally enthralled with, devoted to, and spent years and years of my life closely involved with. Junk.

(more…)


David Breithaupt

Amongst The Un-Molested

October 3rd, 2009
by David Breithaupt

COLUMBUS, OH-

I have to confess, my childhood was somewhat idyllic. I wasn’t molested or fondled, spun or mutilated. I wasn’t MacKenzie Phillips’d nor did I grow up in a cardboard shack in some stranger’s backyard. I wasn’t abandoned, duct-taped, burned, bandied about or water-boarded. Was never felt up by a priest nor unearthed horrid events via hypnotism. My early years, as you can see, were a bit on the normal side. No one wanted me. I felt so left out. Many of my friends had been damaged by such events and I wanted to belong and share their terror. I set out to create my own.

(more…)


Peter Gajdics

Running After the Hands

September 28th, 2009
by Peter Gajdics

VANCOUVER, BC-

Flipping through a recent issue of the local gay newspaper, I noticed two advertisements on facing pages. On the left was an ad for the local gay bathhouse with a picture of three young, hairless (at least clipped), muscled, and implicitly virile men tangled like weeds in each other’s sweaty but greedy arms; on the opposite page was a picture of another (young) man—blue-eyed, with three-day stubble, in a flaming red shirt—advertising the latest AIDS medication. The message, whether the marketers were aware of it or not, was powerful: have fun, and if (when) you get sick, buy our medication. Sex sells, even with illness looming offstage. (more…)


Reno J. Romero

Bring the NFL Pain: Gridiron Pesole Revisited

September 16th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

SAC, NORTHERN CA -

NFL.

It’s back. 

I feel whole and brand new. Like that Stylistics tune. As many of you know, it was a long and brutal wait. I jonesed and bitched. But it’s here again. On time. Just like Christmas. 

I was 13 for 16 in Week 1. That’s right. They were simple picks. The teams you figured to win did just that. Too bad I’m not in Vegas. I could have turned a buck and hooked me up with a couple of hot dogs loaded with mustard and stinky onions.

(more…)


John L. Singleton

Things I Learned About the Apocalypse Over Labor Day While Vacationing In Palm Springs, California

September 15th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA–

So, I’ve been working pretty hard lately. And by working hard, I mean that I’ve been working really hard, for long hours (12 or so of them every single day) for about the last two years. As a reader of this little article, you might wonder what I’ve been working at for all of these hours, but that’s not important. What is important is that at this point, the only thing that really punctuates my working of really long hours is the drinking of highball glasses of Jim Beam, which helps me work more but alas (according to all of the addiction recovery books I seem to be reading lately) doesn’t really relax me. At least not in the way a good vacation would. A good, sober vacation. And what better place to get away from it all (or at least the burning, wood-fired Tandoori oven that is LA right now) than Palm Springs, California, just two hours away!

At first this seems like a great idea, right? A relaxing desert, a pool, room service… All awesome things. However…

(more…)


Joi Brozek

A Thousand Words: Girl in a Bottle

September 9th, 2009
by Joi Brozek

LAWRENCE, KS-

It was after you slurred those filthy songs with a sweet voice, eyes rolling up to the colored gels covering the lights, thinking, “FUCK! They can make me beautiful,” that I decided I couldn’t look at you anymore,

The first time I met Tricky, she told me to pour her a double, baby, and so I did. On a good day she drank Stoli and soda, heavy on the Stoli, light on the soda, in a glass. On a not so good day she did away with the glass and drank straight out of the bottle. I had never seen thirst like hers. (more…)


Kimberly M. Wetherell

Stalker Nation

September 7th, 2009
by Kimberly M. Wetherell

BROOKLYN, NY –

As I’ve written in these hallowed cyber-halls before, I have a fascination with SMITH Magazine’s Six-Word Memoirs; micro-compact stories whose pint-sized punch allows the reader to reel from their impact, left only to imagine the much, much larger story behind the Six. Some people, I have noticed, post frequently. Daily. Obsessively. In fact, SMITHTeens are posting several hundreds in a matter of weeks.

And while I don’t participate with any sort of regularity, I do wholeheartedly embrace the fine art of encapsulation. When life throws its armadillos under my chassis, one of the first places I run is SMITH, to record the moment in perfect, petite, posterity. And for my efforts, I’ve been delightfully rewarded. I read my Six-Word Memoir, Orgasm. Schmorgasm. A vibrator can’t spoon, on the same stage with Amy Tan. I won a dating advice book about why we don’t call bad dates back with, That booty call only rang once. And I just got my first Six-Word Memoirist of the Day accolade last week with Ex-Twitterer. New Urban Dictionary entry: ‘Quitterer’.

That’s right. I quit Twitter. I’m a ‘Quitterer.’

Which might seem odd, considering Twitter is nothing *but* encapsulation, and a 140-character limit should have been a natural fit for the soul of my wit’s brevities.

But here’s what I’ve learned about myself in the past six months I’ve been Networking Socially: I have become the Fire-haired Fürer of Stalker Nation.

(more…)


Kristen Elde

Irresistible

September 3rd, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

compulsion
n.
1c./1d. An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation. / An act or acts performed in response to such an impulse.

I, a full-tilt Virgo, have been inclined since the tender age of five, back when my chore of choice was folding laundry, keen (hell-bent?) on matching corner to corner, edge to edge, of The Wonderfully Right-Angled Bath Towel, to observe an indulgent amount of order in the course of a day. I’ve never really seen this as an impediment, however, considering the routine straightening of pictures, aligning of chairs, and, yes, still the fastidious towel folding, have never, like, axed friendships or lost me jobs or sent lovers fleeing in abject horror. At most/worst, these and other related behaviors have brought about the conspicuous rearranging of my office desk fixtures at the hand(s) of knowing coworkers. And that’s just kinda funny, you know? (Not that said fixtures aren’t promptly and vigorously returned to their rightful homes. Heh.)

Anyway, yeah: I’m scrupulously neat and I’m okay with it. It evens me out. (more…)


Doug Mulliken

If Any Guy in His Mid-Twenties is Qualified, It’s Me

August 28th, 2009
by Doug Mulliken

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -

2:45 AM — In my mind, it’s hard to write about heartbreak at age 26.  It’s one of those intricacies about the writing profession - a musician writing a song about heartbreak at age 26 is rarely questioned, yet a writer writing a piece about heartbreak at 26 is deemed, at least by me, to have not experienced enough.  How can you write about heartbreak at 26?  You’re still a kid.  A 26-year old can’t possibly have enough worldliness to know how truly bad it can get, how painful it really is.  That’s the view I tend to take - writers, unlike mathematicians, improve with age, and the more you live through the more you are capable of writing about.  I suppose it’s a hang-up from being constantly told to “write what you know.”  As a fairly normal suburban white kid, that didn’t make for very interesting writing, but nobody ever told me anything else. (more…)


Henning Koch

Greetings from Finland

August 22nd, 2009
by Henning Koch

TAMPERE, FINLAND-

Wednesday 5th August, 2009.

It is not every day one finds oneself on a train, heading north out of Helsinki. Just such a day is this. Nor is it every day one walks into the restaurant car to find elegant brass railings separating upholstered chairs and tables with tablecloths, and an ice-blond woman smiling coolly behind the counter. I order some meat soup.

“What sort of meat is it?”

“It’s… hmm? I don’t know.”

“Just say it in Finnish.”

She says something strange. Then makes a mooing sound.

“Ah, beef!”

“Yes. Biff.”

(more…)


James D. Irwin

The Time I Accidentally Created Seinfeld and Other Strange Pages from the Notebook

August 18th, 2009
by James D. Irwin

SOUTH EAST, ENGLAND-

This is a pretty spontaneous post.

I’ve been out of bed for about forty-five minutes, I’ve had a coffee and I’m currently sat in my pajamas listening to The Ramones.

I’ve become obsessed with The Ramones recently and haven’t really listened to anything else in over a week; I’ve even stopped listening to my favourite classic rock station.

To put this obsession in the form of a cheap pun: I don’t remember rock and roll radio.

The reason I suddenly decided to post was because of something I found in an old notebook…

(more…)