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The Essay
Show #107
The Real Manhattan Project
David Gunn
While many people remember that the Manhattan Project was the code name for the attempt of eight New York City bartenders to develop a cocktail of whisky and vermouth but which, when a jigger of bubbly uranium-235 was accidentally dropped into the shot glass, serendipitously resulted in creation of the atomic bomb just in time to turn the tide of the Nuremberg War, few recall that the effort to mass produce the first spatially non-symmetric subatomic wiener was code-named the Manhasset Project, after Sol Burdock's Long Island deli where the meat byproduct-in-a-bun was introduced to an unsuspecting public in 1971. Although dissimilar in many respects -- the Manhattan Project, for example, spent umpteen hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on research and bar tabs, while the Manhasset Project was kept afloat by a $450 loan from Sol's brother Grabner's taxidermy shop in Queens -- the two clandestine endeavors had more in common than 82% of their syllables: both were spectacular bombs.

It may seem quite a stretch from wiener bombs to Aram Khatchaturian's Saber Dance, especially when Carl Jung, Stan Getz and Nancy Sinatra have petitioned to appear in the equation, but bear in mind that Grabner's Taxidermic Function -- which also figures in the recipe -- is the metaphysical equivalent of Anything Can Happen Day on the old Mickey Mouse Club television program.

Exactly ten years before the Grabner taxidermic loan, Nancy Sinatra had reached her symbolic 21st birthday, having spent the last three years crooning songs about wax clad in leather culottes; Stan Getz was planting and sculpting briar shrubbery in the shape of saxophones outside of a cemetery in Paris, France, for reasons that remain unknown to this day; and Carl Jung -- who might have been able to shed some light on Getz's peculiar behavior had the latter's insurance premiums been paid up and he could have scheduled a session with the good head doctor -- had, after concluding a lengthy series of unsuccessful matter transference experiments in which he had hoped to instantly transport himself at will miles away from E.M. Forster, a bothersome neighbor, decided to leave his current time-space continuum and continue life in the only parallel universe known to man, a universe curiously enough in which Khatchaturian's Saber Dance plays the role of both genial host and tormentor. By employing Grabner's Taxidermic Function, which will one day be discussed at length, we discover that Mrs. Sinatra's songs about wax bear an uncanny rhythmic kinship to Saber Dance. And when the wind blows through Mr. Getz's saxophonic shrubbery, the third pluperfect Saber Dance theme is heard in startling retrograde motion. Carl Jung, meanwhile, has elected to remain silent on the matter for the time being.

But how then do the subatomic wiener bombs, known in many a discredited circle as le flambeau oriange, fit into the formula? It's simple ... in fact, too simple to bother revealing on this 107th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this portion of which forgot to take its Prozac today and therefore should not be held responsible for that last bit of literary bewilderment, bon radio.

>From Stan Getz, meanwhile, the path is clear to Nancy Sinatra and even on to Carl Jung. But the return trek to Nancy and Stan by way of Aram Khatchaturian and his brother, Cole Porter, must pass through the subatomic clutches -- and godspeed to you -- of Kalvos.

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