How to Wreck a Nice Beach

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Something To That Effect

Native Tunguska

By Dave Tompkins at 12:44pm ET

Off to the mountains, near Asheville, after hearing Dam Funk drop a new Steve Arrington joint in the Sunday mist. Speaking of Steve Arrington, I saw an exquisite pair of signature Three Times Dope knee pads while in Chicago a month ago. They were a promotional item for the 3 x’s D single “Weak at the Knees” (Feat. Steve Arrington).

These knee pads shame my Alkaholiks beer coaster. They also remind me of the guy who asked for Swen Nater’s kneepads after a Laker exhibition game I attended in Charlotte long ago. Hey Swen! Lemme have one of them kneepads!

But the mountains.

I love “Mountain’s World.” (Great Rap Moment: Listening to Tuff Crew’s Monty G, aka The Mountain, order a sundae at a Friendly’s in Philly, with screaming kid party at next table.)

I love the Mountain label.

I love that part of “Al-Naafisyh” where the words “beach knob” seem to get scrunched through the vocoder’s snoot. Lil Beach Knob is a mini-elevation near Linville Gorge. Good caves and moss beds there! (Where my brother once fell through a cave onto a dead moose.)

Last time I was on Lil Beach Knob, the sassafras smelled like Froot Loops.

But I will be reading in Asheville, not Beach Knob.

Asheville is near Brevard, N.C., where I went to summer camp and was indicted by a kangaroo court for waking up one night in my cabin and declaring, “There’s a spaceman in the trash can!”

This incident would later appear in “Spaceman In the Trash Can,” a story I wrote for the Broken Wrist Project, which was published by James Hughes in 2002.

Then, we figured, why not a vocoder book?

My counselor (named Alex Bell)* had been throwing dirt on me in my sleep. He said I was being bombed with bat-guano. “Those bats are shittin’ on you!” said the whisperer in darkness.  I believed him.

It’s great to be here.

Asheville also happens to be Bob Moog’s old haunt. (Event details here.) Hopefully the reading won’t conflict with Game 7 because THERE WON’T BE NO GAME 7.  (Update: Um there will be a Game 7). (Rondo!)

Anyway, my cousin, who did the German translations for the book, will be moderating and hectoring.

Hopefully his old man will come out. My uncle is a former CIA codebreaker who defected into the Blue Ridge mountains to become a water dowser. Apparently he used to eavesdrop on Soviet tank commanders cussing their mothers.

When I was a kid, my uncle would show up at the house and talk UFOs, J. Allen Hynek, and Siberian Tunguska Incidents (the mysterious tree-frying explosion in 1908 that made the coyotes walk upright and go to church in Against the Day.)

*No relation to the guy who designed a talking machine for his deaf wife.**
**Wasn’t there a song called “Def Wife?”

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