How to Wreck a Nice Beach

More Crosstalk on the Vocoder
  • About the Book
  • About the Author
  • Reviews
  • Buy the Book
Something To That Effect

The Year In Vocoders

By Dave Tompkins at 12:05am ET

(Bell Labs’ “Floating Wing”/Millennium Falcon, 1964 World’s Fair)

1. The following used the vocoder in 2010:

a.) David Lynch
b.) Ciara
c.) Target Santa Robot
d.) Target Nutcrackers
e.) James Blake
f.) De La Soul
g.) Big Boi
h.) All of the above except Big Boi

2. My dad claimed to hear a vocoder:

a.) From a dirty Pink Pony stashed in a pram in a Polish bakery
b.) In his new titanium cobalt kneecap
c.) Through the 102 JAMZ Jam Machine
d.) During a phone call with an old stuttering classmate named Hogblood Hodges

3.) A Kentucky magazine described How to Wreck a Nice Beach as:

a.) “A mega-pill of mule-choking insights”
b.) “A mega-box of mule-team Borax”
c.) “Megalon Vs Godzilla”
d.) “A metaphor for the Omega Man’s Ray-Bans.”
e.) “Do what?”

4.) At a reading in Los Angeles, a man in a wheelchair asked me to sign his copy of:

a.) The Violence of Childbirth
b.) The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine
c.) Man With A Shattered World: History of a Brain Wound
d.) Acoustic Theory of Speech Production With Calculations Based on X-Ray Studies of Russian Articulations

5.) While running in the watershed woods in NC this past June, I saw

a.) Three bear cubs climbing a tree
b.) A mailman passed out in his truck
c.) A turtle
d.) A turkey
e.) Professor Trottelreiner
f.) A, B, C, D

6.) This year I encountered:

a.) A guy who wants to build a vocoder out of bamboo and snot
b.) A woman who wants to build a vocoder out of glass
c.) A civil war submarine engineer who wants to build a subwoofer out of HP Lovecraft’s skull, which had been disinterred while on moonshine in Providence and now allegedly sits on a friend’s coffee table in Atlanta.
d.) All of the above

7.) In Little Toni Marsh’s “Video Burnout,” the vocoder says:

a.) “Where do you go when the arcade’s closed?”
b.) “There’s an RV up my nose.”
c.) “Where’s my Arby’s Rump Roast Boat?”

8.) My brother’s high school band was called:

a.) Cousin Ito & the Salivating Spleens
b.) Get Them Guts Outta My Yard
c.) Eraser In-law
d.) Wrong Name Death Scream
e.) A & B
f.) All of the above

9.) When I spilled a beer on my laptop in 2005, I lost:

a.) The part where Man Parrish falls from the ceiling of Studio 54 and sprains his ankle while headlining over Madonna with a troupe of purple dwarves carrying lanterns
b.) The part where a can of tennis balls inhales all the unvoiced hiss energy at the 1980 US Open Men’s Final between Borg and McEnroe, including Henry Kissinger’s gnat-triggered sneeze on the third row
c.) My shit
d.) My religion
e.) My beer
f.) All of the above

10.) Match the following special effects provided by Mad magazine special effects specialist Don Martin.

a.) “Sitz sittzle sizzotz”
b.) “Ahh-ahh ahh THOONOONN!”
c.) “Voofen! Voofen!”
d.) “Skwappo!”
e.) “GEEN!”
f.) “Thiz ziz ziz ziz”

1. Plastic Man giving a guy on the 32nd Floor the finger
2. Spiderman’s secret web fluid backfiring
3. The Human Torch hugging his girlfriend
4. Iron Man sneezing inside his iron mask
5. The Katzenjammer Kids’ dog barking at them in German
6. The Silver Surfer wiping out on a meteor

11.) Amazon called How to Wreck a Nice Beach:

a.) “Entertainment Book of the Year”
b.) “An edutaining pain in the ass.”
c.) “A book whose sales ranking is equidistant to the miles separating Earth and the Pac Man Nebula, as calculated by a Mayan algorithm.”

12.) I was going to call my book:

a.) So To Speak
b.) I Have No Vocoder and I Must Scream
c.) Frog & Toad Don’t Care
d.) Technically Speaking
e.) Hard To Tell
f.) All of the above


13. When I told Florian Schneider about the dragon with the Voder around his neck in Robert Heinlein’s Between the Planets, he said I should stop indulging in childish fantasies and get back to serious research.

14. The first book cover was to be an illustration of William Rehnquist’s neck, with the stoma strung like a Bancroft Bjorn Borg tennis racquet, and the title stenciled across the catgut grid, through which tiny—and perhaps poisonous—blue toads are peeping. Rendered in pencil.

15. Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator, owns a copy of How to Wreck a Nice Beach.

16. The vocoder in DJ Hero 2 is not really a vocoder.

17. The programmer behind the “I Am T-Pain” app attended the Princeton reading and left.

18. Snoop Dogg owns a copy of How to Wreck a Nice Beach.

19. On January 4th, 2010, I emailed the following to my editor: “Holy shit! Make that a holy shit and a holy shit!”

20. On January 4th, 2010, I emailed my final editorial change.

21. I’m DJing the Mega-Gate Super Bowl Party in Vegas, sponsored by the National Tailgating Federation.

(1) h (2) a (3) a (4) a (5) f (6) d (7) a (8) e (9) f

(a) 3 (b) 4 (c) 5 (d) 6 (e) 1 (f) 2

(11) a (12) f (13-19) True (20) False (21) Ulp!


Leave a comment

Stop Smiling Books

© 2010 Stop Smiling Media, LLC. All rights reserved.