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The Essay
Show #158
Whiskers Six-Draw
David Gunn
The rules to the game of whiskers six-draw are among the most treacherously confusing ever devised. They are normally imparted via word of mouth, because the only known written version is in an obscure pluperfect Moroccan dialect. Minimal research has led to the following facts about the game.

There are at least five participants -- two players, each with a handler, and a card sharpener -- though as many as 40 may be involved. The card sharpener’s job is to put keen edges on some but not all of the cards (usually fours). The players and handlers may twitch silent digital codes to one another with their fingers. Claiming 40 face card fandango usually but not always wins the game. Discarding six successive spades usually but not always loses the game. The card sharpener may award either team a 10-joker draw, however it has never been established if this is a good thing. The number 76 has never appeared during a whiskers six-draw hand, however scores of sevens and sixes are quite common. The "dealer takes all" ploy often results in a discard pile of fours and fives, with a Bunyip Queen being placed on the bottom of the deck.

Unexplained game terms include thumb and gander abstractions, card sharpening doggerel, and factors of five chicaneries. As far as anyone can tell, neither "whiskers" nor the drawing of six cards at any one time has anything to do with the game. Single games, or hands, are normally heated, but may also be consenting, sideways, bifurcated, artless, spotted and vertical.

The game was popular in the late 1400s when the rules favored play during months with fewer than five Tuesdays. During an especially shenanigan-filled game in 1490, one player used the Saha Equation to declare 40 face card fandango while somehow holding five queens. Both he and the maneuver were later banned from play. The Disciples of Discipline, excommunicated followers of Immanuel Kant, were accomplished whiskers six-draw players, and many of their animistic and panlogistical speculations were incorporated into the game’s stratagems. The Weasel Card, for example, which sharpens the deck by a power of two, originated as a Disciples sleight of hand. Franz Mesmer acquired a charlatanical reputation because of his misuse of the eponymous technique at whiskers six-draw tournaments, where he won big and often, to the mystification of his opponents, who could never remember even having played him. In the early 20th century, Sir Angus Cleveland published The Whiskers Six-Draw Dealer, a newspaper that featured articles on abstruse rule manipulation of the game and, in fact, broke the story that Albert Einstein’s E=MC² was a radical strategy he’d originally devised for an abstract hand of the game that formed the basis of his cosmological constant.

The cards have crop circle images on their backs and are stored in spittoons. When shuffled, they sound like 400 owls attempting en masse to outwit a giant badger in the rain. According to chromosome theory, certain combinations of discarded fours and queens may lead to noticeable shifts in the orbital apogees of Neptune and Pluto. Kuala Lumpur hosts an annual whiskers six-draw event known as le flambeau oriange.

And finally, whiskers six-draw has been approved by Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar for mention during this, the 158th episode, only. Any future reference must be accompanied by a note from the assigns of Charles Goren as well as a half deck of bunyip face cards.

And facing the cards, music and microphone week in and week out, except when he isn't, is Kalvos.