DECEMBER, 2004 e.v.
"I won't dip more than my feet into the water ... I'll get on a boat, but only if it has a bathroom."
BACK TO THE DRY-ERASE MESSAGE BOARD
Having returned from their holiday cheer to the dystopia that is much of Hollywood, at precisely 12:06 (when Danny arrived) on Thursday, January 6th, 2005 e.v., the members of TOOL gathered at the rehearsal space to resume writing and arranging the music for their next record. Although I'm not going to pay them a visit until tomorrow (after all, they're probably a little rusty - and there's nothing worse than a Daedalian-complex train wreck), while gazing into Danny's psychomantium (after fixing a faulty float connected with its make-shift pump), I was able to discern in its dark surface certain new additions to the arsenal designed to pierce the aethyrs.
The first thing I saw was that Adam had a new Minimoog. Not just any Minimoog, but a 21st century, anniversary edition Moog Voyager with a sleek black cabinet and electric blue back-lit legends on the perplexing control panel as well as blue-lit pitch and modulation wheels. (NOTE: to see an analogue synth like Adam's new toy in person, check out the Moog booth at this year's NAMM show behind the Orange Curtain in Anaheim, CA. - home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
This little baby was a Yuletide present from Camella who, whilst shopping, asked the atomskald (i.e. me) if I thought she should buy it for him. "You'd be crazy not to" was my reply... "And what are you getting me? Oh, that's right, I almost forgot: Colloquial Icelandic, The Complete Course for Beginners." So now I know what sjalfsflekkun means. Actually, it's thanks to the December issue of Marie Claire (a perfumed office copy donated by the wife of a Chiropractor) that I now know what the word means. And speaking of "self-pollution", which for some strange reason the people of pollution-free Iceland call auto-erotic activity (of course they used to call fire "the spoiler of twigs"), as a stocking stuffer (no pun intended), the Grace/Jones unit also got me a blacklight pecker bulb which they no doubt picked up on Halloween in San Francisco when I wasn't looking. Incidentally, according to the same Marie Claire poll, the Icelandic people are the heaviest users of orgasm assistance. Or maybe they're just the most honest. Another thing that the poll revealed was that the people of Iceland lead all other countries in one night stands, with 71% of the people having had one. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but wait a minute Ms Lesley Jane Seymour... in Iceland, isn't it night like for nearly half a year? This could mean that to the Icelandic people a "one night stand" is a healthy, meaningful six month relationship.
Now where was I before I got side-tracked by Vikings participating in beauty/fashion magazine polls. Oh yeah, the band. It wasn't exactly clear, the imagery in the psychomantium, but I thought I saw Maynard experimenting with some electronic vocal effects on Danny's Sennheiser VSM-201, that like the one of Kraftwerk's (that's Kraft- WORK's) Man-Machine, etc. Danny and Justin were eating Jelly Belly's, the Harry Potter or Bertie Bott's sardine ones I put in the bowl while they were away for the holidays to replace the tangerine ones that someone ate. Chocolate pudding jelly beans! What's next, Holy Blood, Holy Grail for sale at Costco?
FUNGOIDAL WHITE SPIDERS OF ROBA EL KHALIYEH
It was while sitting in a terminal at LAX, looking forward to spending the holidays with my family in glorious O'Fallon, Illinois (go Panthers!) that I felt a shudder of impending unease. Someone had sent me a copy of the January issue of Playboy, and as I turned to "Playboy's Playmate Review - Finally, an erection that really means something", I believed I knew why. And then on page 163 (1+6+3=10 = "Saturn Ascends, choose 1 or 10" = tension ) I saw those haunting Memphitic eyes. Even without the second sight of one who has consumed 3 (not 2 or 4) of a certain pure white spider that lives in a carpet of fungus in a certain cave in Roba el Khaliyah (yes, there's a new Necronomicon - "The Wanderings of Alhazred" in the large book chains), I could clearly see the shade of the dead stirring amid the sandy wastes of what was once Het-Ptah-ka (Men-nefert/Memphis). This was Tabubu, enchantress of the ancient capitol of Egypt, older than Irem of a Thousand Pillars, now risen from the dead in the ancient catacombs of that city, all dolled up to the nines - and the tens to haunt me, Setnau Khaem-Uast. Evidently the exceedingly lovely - nay, manniferous Miss July wanted more than comp tickets, a back stage pass and a seat on the silver Coleman at the front of house. She wanted a laminate. Tabubu, my little Nymphaea coerulea of the Nile! And, speaking of denial...
THE MEMPHIAN'S CURSE?
Upon reading the blurb (no easy thing to do) that accompanied her glossy photo, my first thought was: "I can't believe this chick is planning on using Maynard to get to me." My second thought was - "Damn, how many drinks did I have at this airport bar?" (fortunately, now a tax write-off). Arrive three hours early, sure! Was that the idea of the limo service or the airport bar? Either way, I had made quite an impression on a bottle of cognac, and this on top of the 3 white fungoidal spiders I took before arriving. Well, why not? Sure Maynard's the 'front'-man in a rock band and has his own tour bus, vineyards and a life-size replica of Captain Nemo's Nautilus* that he lives in on the ocean floor, but I've got a silver Coleman that keeps ice for 3 days and is guaranteed to do so for 100 years!
* Verne's submarine craft re-anti-Christened "Hot Sea Man."
Never mind that it was Joe and I that first 'discovered' her in the parking lot of Vendome liquors (goddamit!), or that, according to the psychic on Ventura Boulevard that psychometrized the Playboyspread, I had known Miss July in a past life - she, as Tabubu, even selling me my time-share pyramidium in Re-stau, there was a more important issue here. The new Tool record. Can you say distraction! "I wonder if Maynard knows about this" I remember thinking. "I wonder if he's seen these boobs... I mean this blurb." Come to think of it he has been wearing a cowboy hat as of late. MJK in a cowboy hat, Junior in a black suit and tie. What's next - Danny in shorts and a basketball jersey or Adam in a Nosferatu tee-shirt? He's still swirling Cabernet-Shiraz with good legs and not Shiner Bock, but... I'd better call Tool management. This might be some kind of plot to subvert the new Tool record, the evil doings of Creed (are they still broken up?) or Linkin Park or even Britney, Christina or Pink. Which reminds, me, I've got to remember to put some Harry Potter/Bertie Bott's "vomit" Jelly Belly's in the bowl to replace the margarita flavored ones I took to show Midwest bartenders what an authentic margarita should taste like.
"Don't panic" I told myself, Maynard doesn't have internet access or get good cell reception in that submarine-craft of his on the ocean sea-bed, so he probably doesn't even know about the blurb. Still we've got to keep this thing quiet - that is if you want the new Tool record to proceed according to schedule. Even you readers... yes YOU, Tool Collective members with your damn message board and chats (which, fortunately, are probably down), keep your lips sealed. In fact, if you have to discus this with your TA friends, it might be prudent to discreetly tap their shoes with yours using Morse code. Just tap out something like 34D243334D117 and they'll know exactly what you're talking about.
I was feeling better about things, further studying the January issue in a comfort station in LAX, when a new detail about Miss July surfaced - one left out of her original Playboy data sheet. She worked as a checkout clerk for Wal-Mart for five years! Christ-all-f***ing-Mighty, this plot was bigger and more devious than I thought. Wal-Mart! She sure as hell didn't become a Tool fan by pilfering CDs from Wal-Mart. Was this some kind of X-ian plot? My head reeled at the thought. A beautiful X-ian AssASSin hell-bent on stopping any further Tool writing/arranging sessions. Was I becoming increasingly paranoid due to the 3 white fungoidal spiders I ate - not to mention the thought of going back to O'Fallon with its floating black triangles piloted by silver circus elves (the Jewels of Telling) from the Nation of the Third Eye? No, I didn't think so. Tipped off by the three things you didn't know about Miss July, I had possibly uncovered an ingenious, yet sinister plot hatched in the very bowels of Wal-Mart itself. It might have been years in the making, conceived as far back as theOpiate or Undertow days. Checkout clerk (another coded reference?)... Checkout, you betcha'... an X-ian secret weapon. Weapon of mASS destruction. "She almost looks like a real Playmate of the Year candidate doesn't she, Joe?" Right down to all those "curvaceous qualifications."
CALIMARI BURRITOS & PENFOLDS GRANGE '53
Throw a monkey-wench into my plans to go to Iceland and drink their burnt wine... think again, Wal-Mart X-ians. Sjalfsflekkun, I'm coming! So I called headquarters - er - Tool management to apprise them of the situation. "Remember the guy with all the green army men in his pockets? Well, this is even worse. She's probably got dried invisible ink in that lacy brassiere or in those silky Cosabellas... What?.. She's not wearing any... Just because there's nothing to dip into invisible ink, let alone hide the bloody mordants, doesn't mean that she's not a beautiful secret agent. She's been known to ASSociate with Navy Seals. NO, I'm not interested in her for myself! Who wants to have to always talk with a Texas accent, go to the gym and do whatever you do there. I'd always be having to convince her that the mail-carrier wasn't a stalker... keep stinging jellyfish and contaminated syringes in the bathtub just because she's terrified to go into the ocean... and deal with jealous Navy Seal ex-boyfriends like those guys who recently got unruly with Iraqi POWs... Seals coming at me with their psychotronic 'fist' beams..." Now where was I before I got side-tracked by this young Tennessee girl turned Wal-Mart X-ian AssASSin disguised as a PMOY candidate looking to have calamari burritos washed down with Penfolds Grange '53 (to ruin the complete vertical) on MJK's larger than life-sized replica of Captain Nemo's Nautilus (with a bathroom) re-anti-Christened "Hot Sea Man." That or go to ruinously expensive Babbo? Oh yeah, the record.
MAYNARD'S NAUTILUS REPLICA (with a bathroom)
This called for drastic measures. Perhaps I'll summon Nexhagus, Choronzon's little brother, or, better yet, Niantiel - a perfect circle, you betcha', being the reverse of Tiphareth... (fiendishly pleased)... Excellent. No, I said this called for DRASTIC measures. Just imagine it, Miss July (if that really is your name), Maynard's New Atlantis...
*All at once the featureless void becomes a harlequinade of color
Your tasty toes in an octopus garden setting. Life inside a submarine craft powered by massive turbines somewhere on the ocean floor (Arizona being merely a decoy). The spacious, opulent interior of the Nautilus - er, *Hot Sea Man* that was, paradoxically, constructed from parts salvaged from the Peenemunde rocket site. There's a rich leather-bound copy of "The Testament of the Eccentric" by Jules Verne on the teak coffee table. Also an antique ivory-inlaid Ganss-spiel board. You're playing "The Royal and Most Pleasant Game of the Goose" Miss July. It's a bit like Snakes and Ladders. See, it looks like a unicursal labyrinth, doesn't it, with an anticlockwise spiral of 2 1Ú2 turns, similar to the labyrinth inside the left ear, an anticlockwise spiral of 2 1Ú2 turns. It's your turn again. The first one to station #63 wins. You roll the dice... No, you didn't want to land on square 58. That's a hazard... a penalty. Now you have to start at the beginning again... but that's alright, it's only a game, Miss July... or is it? Have another glass of Penfolds Grange - right from the cottage. Behold the blood of Christopher. By the iridescent light of half globes unpolished, MJK is on a grand pipe organ playing Bach's haunting Toccata and fugue in D minor...
*Warmed by feelings of beatitude am I, as I peer out with half-focused eyes
At the dinner table, gleaming silver-ware and white linen napkins are monogrammed with the motto: 'Mobilis In Mobile', meaning "Moving in a Moving thing." Very apt indeed. How about some lemon for that calamari? We won't be bothered by that jet-propelled freak of nature cephalopod with the enormous eyes always swimming cross-ways anymore. Goddamn bird's beak on a mollusk! No, Miss July, you don't want to pour 7up into that glass of 1827 Madeira in order to make a sparkling wine cooler. "Hey, is that a Navy Seal peering in the port-hole? Oh, it's just the mail-man. I hope he's got the box of sea-monkey eggs (artemia) I've been waiting for."
*Pulled slowly through the water as if drawn by some mysterious force,
...Or is it really an alien-creature from a sub-aquaplane after someone's tasty toes?"
* Excerpted from "IN ANCIENT MOONLIGHT: THE GLIMMERINGS OF LUCIFTIA, AN ATLANTEAN BRAIN (IJYNX), written when Neptune moved from Capricorn into Aquarius.
Laser-beam toothpicks aside, I had an even better idea: The next time I'm at Tool's rehearsal space listening to them play, if I forget my ear-plugs, I could always stick a Harry Potter/Bertie Bott's earwax Jelly Belly in my ear. No, that wasn't it (even though it would work). People, I'm fixin' to light my little finger again, but that's okay. Soon I'll be standing in the rainbow-colored spray of the "Waterfall of the Gods." Wait a minute, the "Waterfall of the Gods" smells kind of funny. Oh, well, here's the new plan: I think y'all should go to www.playboy.com and vote for MISS JULY as PMOY (trust me, I have a good reason for saying this). Sure, they're all beautiful, and you certainly wouldn't kick any of them out of bed for eating crackers, but, as I've said, with MISS JULY, you're truly at the bounds of sublimity. Choose well, Tool Collective. Let's get mom that new car! Now, in the spirit of Criswell (and remember what he predicted about the "Bride of the Atom"), I PREDICT MISS JULY WILL BE PLAYMATE OF THE YEAR!
SPECIAL BONUS MATERIAL
SECRETS OF THE DECEMBER NEWSLETTER
1) In a sense, certain parts of this newsletter were written in 'invisible ink' - invisible ink of a type that I now offer you the mordant (i.e. reagent) by which to bring it out. Although it has more than its fair share of blind alleys (sorry), there are hidden meanings contained in the text, which on the bare surface would appear to be about Miss July, the Playboy playmate, Stephanie Glasson. However, using Miss July as a literary device (for reasons that should become apparent), the hidden message embedded therein is meant only for other players (i.e. researchers). In fact, certain references, spy novel clichŽs and all, were borrowed from a spy 'novel' written over a half century ago that I feel might just contain the key to finally solving a mystery whose much chronicled events are associated with that particular month (July). You might say that this is the mystery of a 'new man' - one now lost in a capricious maze (as originally intended?).
In this thriller, an astute detective (possibly an FBI agent, but at any rate someone in the secret intelligence world - representing all government alphabet-soup agencies, various researchers into the mystery, and those interested in it in general.), in describing a shapely, attractive lady spy, first comments on her expensive, stylish clothes, but then adds that "even without her clothes, she'd be worth looking at" - to which two of the novel's protagonists can't resist a laugh. "Hell, what have I said?" the astute observer replies to this laughter. "I tell you that this dame is a good looker, a sizzler." Although certainly good for a chuckle, this is actually a rather cryptic statement written by the novel's enigmatic author, and is, in itself, quite revealing. But more importantly, perhaps, in light of certain things, it's his way of having the last laugh on the intelligence community and all the rest of us detectives and astute observers who will attempt to solve the mystery.
But let's look some more at Miss July (she is, after all, an eyeful) - the PMOY candidate, Stephanie Glasson who, in amending her Playmate Date Sheet, said that "if (she) could have any man in this (italics mine) world it would be Maynard, the lead singer of Tool. See?" In ancient Celtic, glas can mean green, grey and glass. Therefore, glas is connected with invisible, transparent (i.e. to see through). Amid the sumptuous furnishings of MJK's replica of Jules Verne's "Nautilus" (representing the underworld or other dimensions of consciousness), Miss Glasson plays Ganss-spiel (The Royal Game of Goose) with its labyrinth symbolism and hazards on certain stations. And then there is jars, the French word for gander (= see), this being a male goose. Jars hints at the word jargon. And speaking of jargon, the color green is connected with "The Green Language" (langue verte), "The Language of Birds" or slang which is used by those to convey certain messages intended only for other would-be players. (i.e. initiates). In brief - er - in short, it unveils things. Enough said.
2) Somewhat related to newsletter secret #1, believing them to be conventional unconventional jelly beans, at the same time Justin ate both a dirt and soap Harry Potter/Bertie Bott's Jelly Belly, describing them as tasting like nothing.
3) Playing by Camella's rules, Adam guessed what his Yuletide present was and thus un-wrapped the box containing the anniversary edition Minimoog Voyager several days before his other gifts.
4) I didn't really eat 3 white fungoidal spiders. Predictably, my dealer in such things shorted me 1, thus rendering them ineffective, at least according to the explicit instructions of the Mad Arab, Alhazred, in his Necronomicon.
5) There is no comfort station at LAX.
6) In the January Playboy, it's actually "Finally, an election that really means something."
7) I don't think Maynard really knows how to play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor on the grand pipe organ inside his life-sized replica of the Nautilus. At least I've only heard him play some old Deep Purple riffs, and the occasional bits from Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major.
8) "Hot Sea Man" was actually the name of my best friend Michael Flamm's sail boat.
9) As I was writing the December newsletter, Camella stopped by to see if I wanted to have a couple of pints at the pub. As I sat there with her and that chick-magnet Diablo, she very casually dropped a bombshell. Promoters from Iceland had emailed, enquiring about booking Tool. Imagine that, Tool in Ultima Thule!
10) Related to an earlier Egyptian Serpent Game, in the ancient Game of Goose, station #58 represents death and means that the player has to start again from the beginning. Other penalties include square #19, which has a depiction of an ale-house that if landed on requires the player pay a token. Station # 42 is known as the labyrinth, 42 being the number of Judges of the Dead in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. However, on certain boards, Station # 49 hints at even more esoteric connections.
11) I really might vote for Miss July. Too bad, though, there aren't 13 playmates a year, one representing the hidden sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus, The Serpent-Bearer.
12) In Iceland, "burnt wine" is Brennivin, a schnapps known as "Black Death" that is made from potatoes and flavored with caraway seeds. Camella really did get me "Colloquial Icelandic, The Complete Course for Beginners" for Yule (and let me tell you, Old Norse is tough!). As for the Blacklight pecker bulb, well, Adam gave this to several of us as stocking stuffers (pun still not intended).
13) The Kraftwerk (KraftWORK) reference was for someone who puts 3 citrons (what we Americans call lemons) in her iced tea... when she's not having a Corona with lime.