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The Essay
Show #66
The Algonquin Hole
David Gunn
Although it seems like only yesterday -- which it was in the days when bellbitten pantaloons festooned liver-spotted calves and a frosty mug of BlueCheese Cola was dietarily hip -- 35 Augusts have politely waxed and whinnied since famous sandwich bun industrialist Henry Kaiser commenced pushing up daisies on a Montana peat moss farm. Raised by ethnoarborealists Woody and Peg Nietzsche in the jungles surrounding what is now California, Henry was prefabricating magnetohydrodynamic powerplants by his 18th birthday. When he turned nineteen, which he did with unerring regularity, he became an aluminum magnet, defying the 14th and 15th laws of physics and causing an "Algonquin Hole" to form in the core of the space-time continuum, an absence of physically limitless space which exists today only in the lower left cooling tower of the Grand Coulee Dam. While Science may have no explanation for this phenomenon, we do.

But first, we must leap forward in time to 1964, the Year, in the Chinese calendar, of the Spoon, the beginning of the Them Decade, the turning point in the Vietnam War when Saigon was annexed from Japan and Ho Chi Minh soundly defeated the British, French and Portuguese in a heated game of whiskers six-draw. This was the allergy-riddled world that gave birth to INTELSAT, or, Intercontinental Telephone Saturday, when long- distance calling rates were lowered on all days before Sunday which began with SATs. While not mollifying the Portuguese or even Henry's parents, the lower rates did help the many dozens of curiosity-seekers who were telephoning Grand Coulee Dam for details on "the Hole." While this may not in and of itself explain the phenomenon, at least it helps to ease the awkward transition to the next portion of the sesquintro amalgam.

On a lighter note, on this day in history 424 years ago, a group of palpably irritated French Catholics accidentally massacred, flambéed, and later cannibalized for parts 13,000 French Protestants dressed -- no one is sure why -- in orange tweed suits in what was known as le flambeau oriange, an event of dubious distinction which is nevertheless highly popular on this, the 66th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of which is rapidly leading up to that portion of the show which will, through no fault of its own but rather of circuitous consequences of the "Algonquin Hole," follow.

Interestingly, the Grand Coulee Dam was the original setting for Oscar Hammerstein's ragtime operetta, West Side Story, but logistical problems -- the west side of the dam was constantly drenched in salt water spray from the turbines, which were also too loud to easily sing over -- forced the venue to Yonkers, where Oscar changed his name to Leonard, rewrote the lyrics in Yiddish, and soon had a hit and a minor libel suit on his hands.

Serendipitously enough, Libel is (a) the nearest Montana town to where Henry Kaiser is buried, (b) the name of the element which theoretically controls the behavior of the "Algonquin Hole," (c) the song Raoul sings as he rappels over the dam in the original West Side Story, and (d) an auditory disease you can get from listening to too much unsupervised radio, which is one good reason for staying tuned to this station for the next two hours and receiving what amounts to a K&D booster bazaar shot. And now, phonographic needle at the ready, here's Kalvos.