Below is a transcription of a call that I performed on Tom Scharpling’s Best Show On WFMU. The call takes place about halfway into the 1/25/05 show. I was supposed to be a recording. It was easy, I simply read from a text document, and affected were needed.
My name is Ted. I’m a representative with The Neo-Medical Thrill-Seeking Bookworm Club
A membership to our exiting club was purchased as a gift to you from Anita Scharpling. We welcome you as a new member, and as a token of our appreciation, we will be sending you a gently worn paperback copy of Robin Cook’s latest New York Times bestseller, SEIZURE
Torn from the headlines, Robin Cook’s Seizure is a cautionary tale for a time where biotechnology pulls us into a promising yet frightening new world.
What could the Shroud of Turin, a conservative senator and an entrepreneurial researcher have in common? Politics, religion and bioscience collide in the latest medical thriller form the master storyteller in this field.
Senator Ashley Butler is a quintessential Southern demagogue whose support of traditional American values includes a knee-jerk reaction against virtually all biotechnologies. When he’s called to chair a sub-committee introducing legislation to ban new cloning technology, the senator views his political future in bold relief; and Dr Daniel Lowell, inventor of the technique that will take stem cell research to the next level, sees a roadblock positioned before his biotech start-up.
These two seemingly opposite personalities clash during the senate hearings, yet the men have a common desire. Butler’s hunger for political power far outstrips his concern for the unborn; and Lowell’s pursuit of gargantuan personal wealth and celebrity overrides any considerations for patients’ well being. Further complicating the proceedings is the confidential news that Senator Butler has developed Parkinson’s disease – leading the senator and the researcher into a Faustian pact. In a perilous attempt to prematurely harness Lowell’s new technology, the therapy leaves the senator with the horrifying effects of temporal lobe epilepsy – seizures of the most bizarre order.
Noted character actor and Robin Cook fanatic Treat Williams says of Robin Cook’s SEIZURE:
“I own 51 copies”
Beginning in 1972 with THE YEAR OF THE INTERN, Robin Cook swiftly began to make a name for himself in the world of neo-medical fiction with such titles as
· Seizure (Macmillan, 2003) Aug 03
· Abduction (Macmillan, 2002)
· Shock (Macmillan, 2001) Pan Pbk Sep 02
· Vector (Macmillan, 1999) Pan Pbk Aug 00
· Toxin (Macmillan, 1998)
· Invasion ( 1997)
· Chromosome Six (Macmillan, 1997) Pan Pbk 1998
· Contagion (Macmillan, 1996)
· Acceptable Risk (Macmillan, 1995) Pan Pbk 1996
· Terminal ( 1993)
· Fatal Cure ( 1993)
· Blindsight ( 1992)
· Vital Signs ( 1991)
· Mutation ( 1989)
· Mortal Fear ( 1988)
· Outbreak ( 1987)
· Mindbend ( 1985)
· Godplayer ( 1983)
· Fever ( 1982)
· Harmful Intent ( 1982)
· Brain ( 1981)
· Sphinx ( 1979)
· Coma ( 1977)
· The Year of the Intern ( 1972)
In April, you will receive a greatly discounted, gently worn hardback copy of Robin Cook’s next thriller, “Tennis Elbow”
Radio personality Tom Scharpling says of advance galleys of Robin Cook’s “Tennis Elbow”:
“I was white-knuckling the arm rest as I tore page by page through “Tennis Elbow” Sure to be a treat for neo-medical fiction fans the world over, “Tennis Elbow” is the greatest book ever written.”
Thank you so much for your time tonight, Neo-Medical Thrill-Seeking Bookworm Club representatives will be in touch soon to follow up on your new membership satisfaction.
Earles Named In Pelecanos-heavy Washington City Paper review of Lost In The Grooves.
Cashews Get Their Due
George Pelecanos is somewhat taken aback when asked to talk about his
contribution to Lost in the Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the
You Missed. “I got an e-mail from my agent a couple years ago,” says
Silver Spring-based writer. Scram, a magazine “dedicated to rooting out
cashews in the bridge mix of unpopular culture,” wanted him to write a
about underappreciated music. “I just sent it. I never talked to them
anything,” he says. “Then this book shows up.”
Lost in the Grooves compiles essays – sometimes of just a few lines – about
perennial critics’ darlings (the Go-Betweens’ 16 Lovers Lane), odd
odd people (Vivian Stanshall’s Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead), albums you
weren’t supposed to like (Alvin and the Chipmunks’ The Alvin Show), and
whatever else its writers, including locals Ken Barnes (USA Today, ’70s
Flash and Fusion), and Vern Stoltz (Cannot Be Obsolete) and Memphis,
Tenn. based Washington City Paper contributor Andrew Earles, favor.
Pelecanos wrote about Curtis Mayfield’s 1973 Curtom release Back to the
World. “I just picked a record that I thought was really
its category, especially coming after Superfly.”
The overlooked disc “was of a time when people were making records that
sort of thematic,” says Pelecanos, and it’s easy to see why the crime
novelist and story editor of HBO’s The Wire would relate to lines like
these: “In these city streets, everywhere/You got to be careful/Where
move your feet, and how you part your hair.”
Pelecanos’ review ends with a shot at the dean of rock critics: “Robert
Christgau gave this a C.” Another reason, in my opinion, to check it
Pelecanos is quick to point out that he has nothing against Christgau,
he says, “I object to that kind of criticism….A guy, or a woman, sits
dark room for a year and writes a book, and then someone blows it off
D-minus or whatever.”
Pelecanos’ appreciation for music is almost as well-known as his
which chronicle a Washington far from filibusters and presidential
coronations. The “tour music” section of his Web site offers a playlist
like that in Lost in the Grooves: When he hits the road to promote his
book, Drama City, in March, his CD wallet will be stocked with
Lalo Schifrin, the Isley Brothers, Iron + Wine, War, and Graham Parker.
his previous novel, Hard Revolution, featured a “soundtrack” CD given
Next for Pelecanos, besides the book tour, is news on whether The Wire
be picked up for a fourth season. The future of the drama may be grim,
HBO Chair Chris Albrecht’s quip that “I have received a telegram from
viewer of The Wire, all 250 of them.” Perhaps Scram should cover
in its next book.
‹Pamela Murray Winters
(Slobberbone? Good Godflesh, I’m afraid of getting old. – Earles)
Let’s say, for shits and giggles, that it’s Fall of 2003. Jeff Jensen and I had a great idea. We turned this great idea into a magazine piece. We got a magazine interested. We turned the piece in, only to have an editor rewrite it into a ham-fisted, drug-addled, unfunny, attempt at humor. It was not editing; it was a rewrite. The piece was not sent back to us for suggestions or changes, but the editor’s version of what the piece should be/was going to be was sent to us in a take-it-or-leave-it gesture. It was over the editor’s requested word count, amusingly, and dumbed-down so grossly that I had my name changed to a pseudonym of the editor’s liking. What appeared in the magazine was wholly unlike what was turned in. Below is the original piece, pre-destruction at the hands of someone who incorrectly believes that they are funny (and know how to write).
(Note: Above is my personal opinion of the affair, not Jeff’s, and I control the content of this web site)
(Untitled) by Jeffrey Jensen and Andrew Earles
Ebay has changed the world. It has put some of my favorite record and bookstores out of business. It has become the main source of income for many of my recently jobless friends. And nowadays it’s the one-stop shopping spot for such disparate and random items as Chuck Woolery’s actual driver’s license (not lying) and crates of frozen meat. You can truly “win” anything you desire off eBay. So it shouldn’t have surprised me when I ran across a kind of unusual auction while querying the words “prank calls.” I found someone not selling recordings of pranks but rather “his services” as a prank caller. He claimed he would call anyone-anytime-anywhere. The item description was something like “Want to get back at your boss?” “Getting bullied at school?” “Well let me handle it!”
The cost? Seven Dollars.
My friend Andy bid on it and “won.” Below is his correspondence with the seller…Kevin.
First, some things you should know:
1. Kevin didn’t call on the night he was supposed to. Trust me I was prepared to go toe-to-toe with this well-meaning yet dim-witted rookie. I couldn’t decide between Jeff’s hysterical Mother or his recently widowed gay lover so I was just going to “free-ball” it when he called.
2. He transcribed his calls verbatim. They’re still on my answering machine.
3. The psychotic tone of his voice is hard to describe. He seemed equal parts Trench Coat Mafia and Dorm Wigger. (so considering the (name of magazine here) demographic the chances of him running across this article are high)
4. The CD Kevin received is called The Bigfoot Recordings. It’s a field recording from the mid-70’s of “scientists” tracking a Sasquatch in the Sierra Mountains. It’s a pretty low-rent audio Blair-Witch-kinda-affair with extended periods of forest sounds punctuated by nervous guys saying “Did you hear that?” or “I think that’s the female” or my personal fave “Come on out, Biggie”. One of the more head-scratching elements is the god-awful Smooth Jazz soundtrack provided by Charles McPherson. A score better suited for a BET Profile of Gregory Hines or Ben Verene.
6. Kevin’s copy was a CDR without linear notes or artwork.
7. Number of the victim? My home phone (Earles). It was originally Jensen’s, hence the victim’s name.
I already added positive feedback to your eBay account. All
I need is Who you want me to call, What you want me to say,
Why the prank is being done, and When you want me to
do it. Hope to hear from you soon.
Andy preceded to instruct Kevin of his duties:
I want you to call a former co-worker of mine. His name is Jeff. He literally made my life a living hell. He would steal my lunch out of the break-room refrigerator at a rate of at least two times a week. Each time I called him out on it, he would respond with something like, “Sucks for you,” or “Please come back later, can’t you see that I’m eating your lunch?” or just simply, “Bring it on.” I know this sounds crazy, but it’s 100% true.
Sometimes we’d have office-wide drawings for different prizes, you know, just a simple put-your-name-in-the-box sort of thing. I really wanted this Two Free Entrees at Houlihan’s prize, because I had just started dating this girl, and that seemed like a cool date. I don’t know how, but he knew I really wanted it. I walked by his desk and there was my entry slip. I said, “Why’d you take that out of the box?” He replied, “Houlihan’s shouldn’t be serving your type.” Then he started laughing maniacally. Here’s the topper: On his last day with the company there was a big “going away” party for him. Everyone left early, probably to go meet at The Fox and Hound (a bar and grill around the corner). I was pretty busy, so I just got some cake and went back to my office to finish some reports. When I went down to my car (a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe’), someone had written “Buttfuck” along the driver’s side with black shoe polish. I was already late in picking up my 13-year-old son from school, so I didn’t have time to wash it off. It was one of the most embarrassing days of my life. I want you to call and be totally abusive. Give him hell! I can’t wait to hear how this goes.
Andy went to sleep that night convinced that he had crossed the line; that Kevin would call his bluff. Andy was wrong.
HOLY DOG SHIT this guy is evil! I’ll call him Sunday night 3am NY time. I’ll call until he tells me to stop. If the call is traced it’ll be to a payphone in Northern, CA. I’ll give you a transcript of the call. What does this asshole look like? Does he have any weaknesses? (Fat, Moles etc) What would really get his goat?
Figuring that Kevin’s bullshit detector was taking the day off, Andy went at him with more outlandish tales:
I’m trying to think of some characteristics or flaws for you to work with. He is, or was, in pretty good physical shape. He really liked those Sobe “No Fear” Energy Drinks, and kept several in the break room fridge. If he found someone stealing them, he promised to “waste their ass.” He was the only employee that could get away with cursing loudly. Sometimes he thought it was really cool to sound “urban,” and he’d yell “THAT’S RIGHT, BOYYYEEEEEEE!!!” out of nowhere. You know, it was that thing that the Beastie Boys used to say.
Maybe you could mention his divorce. I know he has a son living with his ex-wife. He had one of those giant novelty dream catchers hanging in his cubicle…it was like three feet in diameter. He would always stand back and stare at it repeating the word, “Badass.” Oh shit, I almost forgot, he’s missing half of his little finger (I forget which hand). He was out one night throwing darts at this place called South Beach. Some guy threw a dart through Jeff’s finger. Jeff was so drunk that he didn’t get it examined until the next day, it got infected REAL bad. They had to take it off at the joint. Hopefully that’s enough. I really hope you get this asshole on the phone, and a detailed transcription would be great!
As promised, Kevin offered a blow-by-blow of the call:
The Call has been made. I just got the answering machine. Then I called back and left 2 messages, first one to see if he was home. Second one I let him have it. I recorded them so I can tell you word for word what was said (legally I cannot give you the recording)
1st call: “Hey Jeff you DUMB FUCK, You too stupid to know how to pick up the phone. Stop jerking off with your 4 1/2 fingered hand and pick up the fucking phone!”
2nd call “ You Should have your balls ripped off with a fork, so you don’t contaminate the rest of the world you asshole! If you’re that fucking stupid how can you be smart enough to fuck? No wonder your bitchy wife took your son away, you’d probably kill him you’re so fucking stupid! Shit she must have been pretty fucking ugly and stupid to screw your dumb ass to begin with. Why don’t you shove that “Bad Ass” dreamcatcher of yours up your ass, you fucking asshole”
Hope you like the calls, they’re not the most creative ones I’ve done but I’m sure it’ll piss him off, especially since he won’t know my voice. If there’s someone else you’d like me to call just let me know.
Andy takes it to another level:
Thanks! I left positive feedback for you. Kevin, I feel kind of bad because I paid for only one call, and you made three separate attempts. I don’t have the funds to send another seven dollars but I do have some stuff around the house that’s worth seven dollars. I have a “Garfield Takes The Cake” book, a wicker magazine rack, a digital alarm clock that I think works, and a talking tomato from that “Veggie Tales” movie (it was my son’s).
On second thought, I’ve got another idea. I think what you’re doing with this whole win-a-prank-call-off-of-Ebay thing is really fresh. I’m starting a zine called “Human Parvo” and I could use a guy like you to review new CD’s. I have a disc I want you to review, but keep in mind: It is TOTALLY extreme. I’m going to let it be a surprise. The deadline is soon, so I need your address quick! I’ll send this CD as soon as you contact me. Hopefully you’re still up for it! Got Milk? Ha! Ha!
P.S. I’m hoping for the same daring (ballsy) style used in your phone pranks. Don’t let me down.
Glad you liked the call. You don’t have to pay me extra for making three calls. I live for this shit. Thanks for the offer of working on the Zine. I use to run one myself in High School, I also wrote movie reviews in the School Paper. Plus, you’ll never meet anyone with such a broad taste in music as me. I’d love to be part of it.
I don’t know what to say about this. Is this supposed to be music? It just sounds like a couple assholes fucking around in the woods*. Are they looking for Big Foot or something? When you said “extreme” I was expecting some harder shit. I fell asleep halfway through.
* Coincidentally the same reaction I received after trying to turn my Nu-Metal stepbrother on to The Black Dice.
Every week, I write small-ish “picks”/”anti-picks” pieces for The Washington City Paper. As a result, there are even more promo items cluttering up my life. Below, I offer several of them to you, dear reader.
The new album by Juliette (Lewis) and the Licks
No art promo CD. Comes with photocopied press littered with plenty of gross pics. Unplayed.
Most recent album from Alabama Thunderpussy
With art and jewel case. On Relapse Records. Played twice. Includes instructions on how to be a fake redneck.
Review copy of Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear
Uncracked. Recipient will start walking around house yelling “Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear!!!” in a foreboding voice. Why? Don’t Know. I did it for two days straight. Recipient will eagerly await Michael Crichton’s next enviro-techno thriller, Urban Pond.
$519.99 or trade for gently-worn copy of Tom Grace’s Bird Of Prey
New CD by An Albatross
CD plays for 17 minutes. Full art and jewel case. Perfect for people who believe that the Locust broke ground.
For people who believe that the Locust broke ground: $1,351.99
Paperback edition of R. Lee Ermey’s Mail Call
Like to get yelled at by a book? Great for militia members and young boys.
$40.00 with forged autograph
Turing Machine, new CD
Yesterday’s math rock tomorrow. Pretty good. Drummer is a 6′ 9″ black cowboy in a fedora and ankle-length duster. He goes by “The Ebony Wall.” Also has mechanical arm that can shatter bowling balls. Fights crime.
Mint paperback copies of Why Girls Talk…And What They’re Really Saying + Why Boys Don’t Talk…And Why It Matters
My only comment: It’s a good thing that this is a long distance writing gig.
Will pay you $5.00 for removal of these books.