Orgies, animal sacrifice, blood-drinking, and the rest of Satanism's drear catalogue featured prominently in the work of this radical theatre group artistically and philosophically triangulated in the humid, teeming crotch connecting Brecht to Artaud. According to sources, the Baaljartzers claimed for their artistic godfathers (my word) an apocryphal splinter group from Exodus, who did not shall-we-say cotton to Moses's Commandments, preferring to plow greasier soils.
The founding philosopher and director of the Baaljartze movement, a sepulchral woman called only "Weis", was famous for saying that the entire human spectrum of existence was theatre for the devil; her only gripe being that it was cast with amateurs.
According to my chum, on the ebbing side of the middle part of the last century, a Greek playground designer named Antithenes Tantopolis believed that "life lessons will be designed into the playscapes of children whilst they are at their play lessons." (Chum's wording? The Greek's? The letter is unclear.) Accordingly, an early prototype of the "Tantovelt slide" featured a 90-degree turn and a hole a foot wide immediately preceding the end of the slide.
Another Tantovelt piece was a set of monkey bars with "false grasps", or, hinged rubber "falling bars"--interspersed with the solid regular sort--that caused children to drop perilously close to the ground.
Not a horrible idea in a platonic sense, but perhaps the boardroom might've benefited from a lawyer's presence?
Reasonable people might marvel that such a patently dangerous concept could find expression in a world helmed by adults. Happily, I come bearing explanation: a relative of Tantopolis, who served as the headmaster of a private school in rural England, positively raved about his relation's forward-thinkingness and ingenuity; he gave the Greek designer his first and only contract, and was in the fullness of time found to be criminally insane. While the schoolmaster vanished from the human record, the so-called "Tantovelt slide" exists today as a traveling art installation upon which children are not, alas, permitted to play.
"Biccum" is a salad dressing or dipping sauce incorporating bonemeal. Evidently originating in Finland (circa 17C), the process was born during an especially brutal winter. The bones of livestock were employed in making a nutrient-rich stock which was then "fined" (a process of thickening catalyzed by dried, minced fish bladder). The finished product made for a healthy and flavorful vegetable dressing.
And how did it taste? Savory yet mild, with a spot of chalk--or so reported my colleague. I am afraid my stomach's lifelong war against sauce curbed my appetite for the delicacy. (It probably didn't help that the matron refused to tell us from which animal the bones had been culled. One thinks, against one's will, of a sort of cannibal roulette: a depraved entertainment ancient Finns nicked from winter's white-feathered coat.)
By all accounts formerly an unassuming town off the beaten path and most likely destined for disintegration from the cold shoulder of the railroads, Shaniebuhl became a magnet for America's disaffected and disenfranchised laborers. In droves they shambled to the sparse Midwestern nowhere, buoyed by their hopes of the life unyoked, coal-blackened men and their teams of unlettered children and their wives with tired shoulders, strained backs and exhausted breasts, proud people all, and all submitted to the dream of a fair shake.
Emboldened, Shaniebuhl seceded from the United States and became a sovereign nation. The United States hardly noticed.
In Amish communities, when someone renounces the faith and leaves for less restricting pastures, their names are forbidden to be spoken. So it was with Shaniebuhl. Its name and address was erased from the continental 48. They were assiduously omitted from the census of 1910. Surrounding municipalities were surprised to find their jurisdictions suddenly bordered not by Shaniebuhl's slight territorial reach, but as if by nameless void. When the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System begridded the nation four decades later, a not unsizable portion of Wisconsin was intentionally exempted from coverage.
The practical implication to the larger world was that, short of traveling there, (if they could even find it), kith and kin of Shaniebuhl residents had no way of contacting them. Their letters were all returned as undeliverable. The interior Postal vernacular quickly adopted the word "shaniebuhl" to indicate a town that has no official existence.
A peculiar footnote to this tale is that the number of shaniebuhls documented by Postal historians has greatly increased over time, with exceptional proliferations at certain moments in the nation's history. Conscription, for instance, is a sure way to geometrically multiply formally nonexistent communities strewn invisibly throughout America. Imagine this land! these constellations of islands, unabsorbed, endowed by cowards, lying we know not where in our very midst!
Sister Agnes's faculty for horticulture was so extraordinary that in the winter of 1867 the church set about investigating her for possible canonization. It was around this time that she fell headlong in love with a notoriously impious (and married) landscaper whose company was called "The Haw Haw Gang." (As the most learned of my readers are no doubt aware, a haw haw, or ha ha, is a fence or bank stuck between slopes, or a ditch not seen until approached closely, employed in English gardens to fend off nosy beasts from spoiling tended land.) Abruptly a fallen woman, the church's investigation was dropped, Sister Agnes was exiled from the Community of St. Margaret, and was promptly abandoned by both her lover (who would later suffer a tragic accident, himself, involving a hoe) and her divinely imbued green thumb.
It is no wonder, then, how an unblossomed bud became known to Grinsteaders as a plippis. The real question is why would God be such a taunt and jackal as to give Agnes preternatural gifts and ruin her with one of them: the gift of passion? But, silly me, doesn't He do that kind of thing all the time?
Finally, on the macabre side of the ledger, we have the legend of Agnes's interment--or lack thereof. No one can say precisely when the unfortunate Plippis expired, and therefore what I am about to report is the wildest conjecture, but it is said that Sister Agnes went unburied into eternity, left to rot and melt again into the soil, like any plant removed from the light.
Pettiere Dolachex emigrated to the States and died (pot luck, casserole) the happy and fulfilled father of four, grandfather of seventeen, and is presently at rest in a family plot in Terra Haute next to his wife of 52-years, Vivianne.
Whatever the details of the history, decades later Frambala! resurfaced in an unlikely place. Novelist John Clellon Holmes (who coined the term "beatnik") discovered lively rounds being played in Greenwich Village between such notable American men and women of letters as Jack and Jan Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Elise Cowen, Diane DePrima, Joanne Kyger, Hettie Jones, Neal Cassidy and Alan Ginsberg. Indeed, it is surmised that a game of Frambala! led to the first known tryst between the latter two, for under the administration of the Beats the game adopted a decidedly lascivious nature. Rather than asking questions like knives surgically designed to eviscerate, this gang peppered each other with queries on art and literary history - the price of answering incorrectly was the removal of an article of clothing.
According to my researches, New York Times reporter Jimmy Breslin was the first to apply the word "frambalism" in political coverage when he followed New York City's Mayor Abraham D. Beame on the campaign trail in 1974. Beame, little remembered now, was clearly as adept as any public servant in deflecting one question by answering another.
I would be remiss in failing to note that there never was found any solid documentation bridging the Sioux Indians with larschious distilleries. Some have speculated that the viral, intoxicating potion was, in fact, a colossal and - dare I say - savage practical joke played on the colonizers of a vast mean land by those suborned and quartered who may have remembered, even then, the story of a freely given blanket whose warmth was a killing fever.
Blantamold is a fungus that grows upon the mortal wounds of those whose death is a result of something called the Imperius Curse. It was rumored that, in The Half-Blood Prince, a villain absurdly named Draco Malfoy was to acquire some of the fungus ultimately from the corpse of someone else called Broderick Bodie. The lethal stuff would have been originally collected by Dementors (whatever they are) at the direction of a Lord Voldemort, shuttled thence to the villain Malfoy's devious father Lucius, and on to his son, who was instructed to introduce the blantamold in the form of dried tea, or something, anonymously gifted to the hero, Harry Potter. Blantamold was said to induce the poisoned to fratricide, matricide, patricide, or infanticide. Evidently, it was hoped by Malfoy et al that Potter would exercise the third of that unpleasant quartet on a sage called Dumbledore, who was - I am told - the nearest thing to a father figure the unfortunate boy had. In so doing, the child would vilify himself while erasing an obstacle to the "Dark Lord's" triumphant return to power. I don't know. Maybe it means something to you.
Though Rowling is mute on the subject, it is conjectured that, thinking it overly macabre, she abandoned blantamold, leaving it, I gather, to grow benignly on Broderick Bodie's fatal Death Snare wound.
By all accounts, the Zipper enjoyed as much success as his stature would permit for a handful of years. Many of the reigning boxers of his day refused to fight him on account of perceiving the matchup unfair - ostensibly for the Zipper. Then Gentleman Jim Corbett agreed to a bout and did not step into the ring blindly. He had heard all about the Appapaloif Zipper's technique and was ready for it. His career, typified by frantic acceleration and breakneck speed, ended just as abruptly. The fight began, the Zipper raced across the ring, and Gentleman Jim flattened him with one devastating hook. Not long after this he was committed to an insane asylum, leaving behind his wife - a mute - and their three boys Proctor, Gamble, and Ajax. It was eventually learned that the Zipper's Christian name was Appa Paloif. It was only that he spoke so fast that people thought it either his last name or the town of his birth.
You may well be curious as to how I know so much about this strange little man. Well, I'll tell you: my father Brandeis (may he burn in hell), long a champion of the underdog, was personally avid about the Zipper. Much of my largely intolerable childhood was whiled away listening to tales of the spirited warrior Gentleman Jim ended with one stroke.
A Tansecky Shuffle occurs in a system of barter when something of demonstrably far-greater objective value is surrendered by a party to secure something of immediate and urgent need. Arguably the first Tansecky shuffle (at least in the lives of Herdon and Rosalynd) occurred when this small band of Oregon trailblazers traded the destiny of their common dream, which undoubtedly lay to the west of the Rockies, for a life of remorseless poverty huddled amid the unforgiving mountains, in order to save the life of their child. Yet another Tansecky shuffle was won (although, it should be noted, there are no clear winners or losers in a Tansecky shuffle, as the neediest among us, when quenched of his mortal thirst, is as rich as the richest of us) by the brother-in-law Roebuck, who mercilessly leveled interest on a loan that, while representing, to be sure, no mean divestiture of his own wealth, vouchsafed the at least temporary security of the Tansecky babe. Incidentally, the fate of said child is unknown to history. What is known is that, for the seventy-plus years that it hung an open sign on its door, the Tansecky Pass Trading Post ruthlessly plied its own shuffles on those who stumbled in needing water, a new horse, some jerky, or a drum of fat. While no one was ever turned away outright, they did pay dearly for what they most needed.
The word seemed to occupy an adaptable position straddling noun and verb. One could slivolly someone else using a slivolly. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here about the derivation of words from abhorrent acts: the caprice necessarily involved...sustenance is perverted into lethality and our vocabulary adopts a torpor, an immoral flexibility to accomodate it.
Among the detritus found elsewhere in the written word's effluvial outpour scattered amongst 21st C.E. England, I have stumbled upon references to "the Tippins trapeze" and "triumph Tippins!" The former seeming to indicate the treacherous skirting of dire straits, the latter a rousing and final success.
Alas, no pictures remain of Yehuda Plizvitz. It seems reasonable to hypothesize that they were incinerated and quick.