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The Essay
Show #70
Schopenhauer and Schlomo
David Gunn
Arthur Schopenhauer, noted philosophic curmudgeon and whiskers six-draw gadfly, once remarked to a colleague that "life was stupid, learning was disingenuous, and his tailor, Schlomo, belonged in a can." At the time, Schopenhauer, was at the height of his successlessness, and so the statement was roundly ignored. Later, of course, when fame dogged his heels like forest eels in rut clambering over baloney, the remark was scrutinized to bits by scholars with hyphenated surnames in an attempt to find some meaning to it which could be hotly debated at important symposia with large banquet tables piled high with sweetbreads tended by impressionable young acolytes whose faces were entirely free of liver spots. One theory propounded by excommunicated followers of Immanuel Kant who called themselves the Disciples of Disproportion maintained that the statement proved nothing less than the existence of nothingness, presaging the philosophy of existentialism a good 70 years before Herbert Hoover first spoke on the subject. The Disciples were also quite accomplished whiskers six-drawers, and many of their animistic and pan- logistical speculations were quickly incorporated into the card game's chicaneries. The Weasel Card, for example, which sharpens the deck by a power of two, originated as a Disciples sleight of hand. Other Schopenhauerian followers attempted to fathom the phrase by anagrammatizing its 69 letters. Most efforts seemed forced -- indeed, too far- fetched even for this essay, if you can believe that. Arguably the best rearrangement was from Schopenhauer's son-in-law, Bergmondi, who, after employing the tailor named in the statement for some simple pants altering, merely swapped the first and tenth words to concisely reflect his displeasure with the outcome, ergo, "Schlomo, was stupid, learning was disingenuous, and life belonged in a can." "His tailor" was purposely omitted from the phrase, and also from the remainder of Bergmondi's life.

Fifty years after the phrase first confused the pants off of sophists and bar thinkers the world over, biologist and author H.G. Wells turned it over in his head a few times, added some anatomically accurate references to nosal appendages and the as-yet unheard of Algonquin Hole theory, moved the venue to Vermont at the time of the last Subduction Age, and wound up with the comic novel, Le Flambeau Oriange. Upon reading a serialized account of the story in The Strand Magazine, English compatriot Gustav Holst took up his pen, then put it down again, but not before sketching out the first act to the comic opera, "His Tailor Schlomo." An excerpt from the overture may soon be available.

Schopenhauer gave much to modern philosophical speciousness and contract whisker six-draw shenanigans, and it is only fitting -- since he honored this day, September 21st, by dying on it 136 years ago -- that we do the same. Not that we -- i.e. Kalvos & Damian, of the New Music Bazaar's 70th episode in a series of at least that number -- cast the die right here on the program, but rather ... oh never mind.

This portion of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar now gives way to that portion of the bizarre musical news which follows in the form of ... well, you know.