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The Essay
Show #100
Occult Dabbling
David Gunn
Oddly enough -- and how often has that phrase been employed during the past 90 some Saturday afternoons -- but oddly enough, the number of illegal non-extraterrestrial aliens who have slipped into Vermont with aliases of Darwoonda, Fernk, Ersatzie, Lemboblovit, Squam, Bunder, Pavinettik and Tremdool is directly proportional to the number of colostomy bags discarded at the southwestern entrance to Base Camp #7B, 18 squalid miles north of Katmandu, during the months of March and April. Thanks to the occult dabblings of a psychophysicist coincidentally named Bunder, a cologne made from the contents of those bags is now available without a prescription.

When news of this fecal matter aromatherapy was leaked to the press, the ensuing glut of salacious reports dealt yet another blow to the modern occult dabbler's quest for respectability. While it has not been an easy hode to row for American occudabs, as they're sometimes called, elsewhere it is quite different. In Istanbul, for example, ads for occult dabbling fill a dozen pages in the telephone directory. Many universities in the Orient have established independent study programs in occult dabbling, often resulting in startling thesises. The alpha particle-happy elements of plutonium, neptunium and uranusium were discovered not through careful scientific research, but rather by a Haitian metaphysics consultant's occultery, which included the beheading of a possessed chicken. Burmese astronomers, unable to grasp the significance of gamma ray bursts from distant nebulas through traditional empirical data analyses, hired an electric rabbi to dabble in the occult for them; and, while not exactly able to make heads or tales of the abstruse algebraic equations the scientists had formulated, he was able to conjure a huge plate of steaming gefilte fish for lunch.

Today, dabbling in the occult is vitally important, giving Science a helping hand in solving everyday problems. Without occult dabbling, Odor-Eaters wouldn't work; washing machines would eat their young; ants would break out of ant farms and they'd be mad as hell; babies would cumulatively measure six inches shorter at birth; and turbans would be much more popular. The turban, of course, is an occult headpiece, as is the adobe hat. Both are worn to ward off the more preternaturally quixotic influences of Algonquin Holes, including the sudden disappearance of 50,000 accordions at the May 1980 Mount St. Helens Lava Ball, or le flambeau oriange.

But this is nothing compared to what contemporary music might be like had not occult dabbling given it a much needed hypodermic in the arm. We know that many important 20th century composers monkeyed around with the supernatural. Igor Sikorsky would never have penned his groundbreaking "Le Sacre du Helicopters" were it not for a potion of bat ears and corn pollen he crammed up his nose each night. Maurice Ravel's brother, Bud, conceived of minimalist music after spending an evening with a Madrid witch doctor, but his brother, a staunch agnostic, thereafter would have nothing to do with him, it, or even Portugal, where he mistakenly believed Madrid was located. And according to Nadia Boulanger, Arnold Schoenberg's widow, his atonal pieces were not based on determinate relationships between the 12 tones, but rather on the indices of the pentagram as pictured in the Third Cabala of the Great Grimoire of Mephistopheles. All of the music on today's show -- the gala 100th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of which is being simulcast in Ouija for any disembodied listening audients -- may contain occult influences, depending on ... well, stay tuned out and find on.

On a collision course with your wireless is where this signal is headed. Batten down your hi-fi hatches if you like, but you'll never escape the radiophonic clutches of Kalvos.