RL23 - Flange of the Angle Curve

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • John stopped drinking coffee cold turkey (Food and Drink)
  • John's keyboard is still dead (Technology)
  • Marlin's habits (Merlin Mann)
  • The Dim Sum in Merlin's neighborhood (Merlin Mann)
  • Not learning your child's language (Attitude and Opinion)
  • Merlin wishes his daughter will be into reading and music, Star Wars (Merlin Mann)
  • What media to show your child (Movies)
  • John wearing white socks, being ready to climb a fence (Style)
  • TSA Security Theater (Flying)
  • Old people having all of their teeth pulled (Factoids)
  • Triumph of the Will, The Nuremberg trials (Military)
  • John’s first acupuncture (Stories)
  • Migraines (Anxiety)
  • Emmanuelle movies showing an engine for sex (Movies)
  • The Gravity Bar, the book by the guy who could talk to angels (Aging)

The Problems:

  • John really feels his capillaries, referring to John’s first acupuncture where he could feel his whole capillary system and it was like a trip of MDMA
  • Göring designs a flag, referring to them talking about Herman Göring and other high Nazi officials
  • Merlin cops to (generally) Grievous Daughterly Harm, referring to Merlin admitting being a bad parent because he wants her to like Star Wars.


  • how warm milk and a patient pencil can tease the scolex of a freeloading, referring to a book John was reading about a guy describing that you get a tapeworm out of your butt by bathing in warm milk and then rolling it onto a pencil until you get it out.
  • Carter-administration parasite from the back of your Magic Hammer Pants, referring to wearing hammer pants while you have a tapeworm hanging out of your butt and wound around a pencil during the time it takes to get it out completely.

One tip? Stockpile crudités, referring to the situation where you would have to sit in the bathtub for a long time to get a tapeworm out of yourself and you would need a stockpile of crudités to have something to eat.

The show title refers to wanting to limit the amount of angels you want on your mountain that talk to you and not wanting to be too far out on the flange of the angel bell curve.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

John stopped drinking coffee cold turkey (RL23)

It is going pretty good, but John's mouth is a little dry because he quit drinking coffee and without coffee in the morning nothing else seems good. He never eats breakfast or has any juice in the morning, so he just sits and makes mouth noises. John being sad as he is, saying that line in a commercial for coffee could be the best thing that ever happened to the coffee industry: ”Without coffee nothing in life seems good!”, or: ”Without coffee’s delicious lubricating mouth noiseners (?) John Roderick doesn't know what to do with himself in the morning!” His mouth is dry and his taste buds aren't thrilled like they normally are.

John stopped drinking coffee all at once. It is still in the house all over the place, but he is strong! You have to build that strength and can't just trip into it. You have to quit smoking, drinking, and all those things cold turkey and then sit there with perspiration dripping down your forehead and really be in the middle of your suffering. You have to own your suffering because that is how you feel exactly what hold the thing had over you in order to understand what you are quitting.

A lot of people say they took a bunch of medication during the come-down period, but a comedown period is the soul of quitting something. You have to be in it, feel all the nerve endings fraying, feel the headache, and feel the craving. By suffering through that you learn about the limits of craving. Craving has limits unless you are a San Diego mom, in which case there are no limits to your cravings. For a Southern California power-walking mom who is power walking down to the boutique to get a mani-pedi the craving is bottomless.

Merlin has stopped drinking coffee before, but he got a totally wanging headache, it is the worst! You feel your capillaries right throughout your body. John felt his circulatory system as well, but it was not pleasant and his circulatory system was protesting and rebelling against him. Every little corpuscle in his body was saying: ”You what? You did what? Give us our magic juice, you bastard!”

John's keyboard is still dead (RL23)

John’s keyboard is still dead on his computer (see RL22). He can move the mouse and click on things, but the Internet has been reduced to just things he can click on. The applications for the original Macintosh had been designed so that short of the times when you had to actually make words you wouldn't need the keyboard.

Obviously you need words if you want to search for things. Merlin wonders how John finds porn without typing, but John has bookmarked all these classic car sites and he goes there and hopes that if he clicks on enough advertisements he will click through to some porn, like the 100.000 monkeys thing.

Marlin's habits (RL23)

Merlin has many bad habits and he is adding a couple of new ones every week. Skateboarding is a terrible habit because he can’t keep his cigar lit when he does a 720 with a big Nicaraguan in his mouth and that sucks! You know you have nailed it when the cigar goes out. Merlin spun twice while he blew a guy from Central America, a big Nicaraguan with a big ring gauge of 52. Merlin doesn’t smoke!

The guy from Central America is doing stuff around the house: ”Manuel! No! abre la puerta!” (”Open the door!”) He is putting up some kitchen cabinets. Merlin’s Spanish is poor, which is funny because he lives in California, but he should really be focusing on his Mandarin and his Cantonese (because he lives in a neighborhood with many Chinese and South East Asians)

The Dim Sum in Merlin's neighborhood (RL23)

John doesn’t want to hear Merlin’s fake Mandarin because it sounds like Cthulhu! Hs has gone out to eat in Merlin’s neighborhood and there are probably a lot of money hands and there is probably Cthulhu in a lot of the food. This morning Merlin went to the dim sum place that John enjoyed and the owner is such a sweet guy! It is the dirtiest food John has ever eaten and he has eaten some dirty food!

Dim sum is a kind of dumpling that is a very popular Chinese breakfast. Merlin drank two tablespoons of Coke and thought he had to throw it away because he can't drink sweet things anymore. He drinks actual carbonated water in cans because he is out of Sodastream and he is down on those 12-packs from Lucky, which is crazy, like being on Pabst (beer) again. He used to be able to drink a lot of beer!

John never saw Merlin during his many many cans of Pabst phase. Merlin has a lot of really problematic things, but he can’t drink beer because it makes him really tired. He used to be able to drink a whole lot of beer. Is there anything that does not make him tired? That is the question he never would have expected would be the one he least wanted to hear. Fucking everything makes him tired, even sleeping makes him tired, even the things he loves the most make him tired! Reading is the worst!

Not learning your child's language (RL23)

A good friend of John's is living in France now and has a child with a French lady. He does not speak French and his seven year old daughter’s English is not so good either. Like a lot of French people, she thinks that he is stupid because he doesn’t speak French. Merlin agrees that by some measures he is stupid and he is pretty fucking dumb that he doesn't learn to speak his daughter’s language. It is like having a deaf daughter and not bothering to learn how to sign.

Merlin wishes his daughter will be into reading and music, Star Wars (RL23)

Merlin is a bad parent because he and his daughter are both really super into Star Wars. If he had his druthers there are really only two things in life that he wanted her to like, and Star Wars is not one of them. He hopes she likes to read and he hopes she likes music. She is kind of into reading and she is kind of into music, and he doesn’t want to push her into anything.

Despite all of his many problems in life Merlin was a very early reader, but there was a decided minimum of other things to distract him. He was also very very lonely. His daughter got a million things besides reading that she can input information from. Merlin thinks literacy as a concept is changing and he loathes to admit that. He bought a bunch of Star Wars books, some of them are awesome visual encyclopedia, these cool DK books they have got about all different things.

John doesn’t know anything about Star Wars books and says that Merlin should introduce his daughter to The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, a little girl who solves mysteries. John was not into Encyclopedia Brown, but he did like the little boy who solved detective stories and smoked cigarettes.

What media to show your child (RL23)

Merlin had lunch with a friend who is one of his heroes. He actually worked on some Star Wars movies! They talked about what to show your kids and his kid is just a little younger than Merlin’s daughter and Merlin accepts his bad parenthood and is really okay with her watching Star Wars movies or Pixar, partly because he likes them himself. He does not show her Dora the Explorer. John didn’t have to deal with Dora the Explorer yet because his child is still too young to understand what any of these things are.

Like keeping her away from mumps and rubella you proactively need to get in front of it! John has spoken to many of his cyber friends about that and he understands the theory. There are a lot of opinions, but they seem to break into two camps: Some say: ”I am going to curate her digital life so that she gets only the best Star Wars crap” and the other fathers say: ”Ten years from now there aren’t even going to be books! Just give them the gadgets and let them figure it out for themselves!”

Half of them are ideologically reductive and the other half are reductively illogical, which is called a false dilemma, which John would have learned in his college he didn't graduate from. Merlin does both! He does not want to watch Dora the Explorer. John is in a third school and until she is 16 years old her afternoons are going to be spent chopping firewood and cutting trail, which is an old Trapper Miner 49er term (from Scooby Doo).

Merlin has no idea what that means but he can't think of a possible place that it wouldn't apply. John’s philosophy is that the only video screens she is going to see in her life are going to be when she is over at her friends’ houses where their parents don't understand how life works, or when she is indicted and the judge is on the other monitor, or when she is trying to get John’s my attention and he is looking at his phone.

Merlin reads his daughter Star Wars books, that is all. The screen time thing is complicated! Sometimes he hears cautionary tales and he tries hard to not (be a bad example). Sometimes he will look at his computer in the morning because he is tired and he is waking up, even with his coffee. Looking at your computer is the best part of waking up! John stopped drinking coffee a while ago and now he is sleeping better. He quit drinking caffeine because he likes to try anything that gives him an edge over the week, within some boundaries.

John wearing white socks, being ready to climb a fence (RL23)

The other day John had a little salon at a hotel in Los Angeles. One of the fellows, a famous podcast-empire type of character and a very snappy dresser (probably Jesse Thorn), started to berate John because John was sitting in the lobby of a fancy hotel dressed in a casual cool outfit. John was ready to walk into a train station bathroom and it actually be a portal to a wizard school. He was furthermore wearing white athletic socks with his outfit of otherwise careful discernment. White athletic socks are more than a matter of personal style, it is a survival technique.

Everybody else at the table was wearing clothes that wouldn't allow you to survive in a desert for 20 minutes. You never know when the apocalypse is going to come, it could come at any time, it could have come right then and there while those guys were sitting there wearing their expensive men's hosiery and the lady was wearing four-inch (10 cm) high heels.

All of a sudden there would not be waiters bringing them calamari, but they would be trekking across a waterless burning desertscape and John’s white socks would wick away moisture and keep his feet comfortable. One-by-one those people would drop off and become hyena food and they would say: ”He had the white piping on his jacket, he looked pretty good, but it was the white socks that ended up being the deciding factor!”

It is a nice feeling to be at a table with John when the room really changes. Not just simply that John is a disturbing outsider crank, but he has wisdom and he has a way of really reframing things for people, which can be a little disruptive, especially if they can't leave. Running in those heels would be terrible and they would need to take them off and run in their pantyhose, but you can't run across a burning desert in pantyhose. Merlin doesn’t think that the ladies wear pantyhose anymore.

Every time John sees a girl with a belly-button piercing he says the same: What if they need to get over a chain-link fence really fast? Is their belly button piercing going to help? Merlin wonders if these are women John has met or people he has never seen. This might be the greatest opening line ever: ”Excuse me, Miss! Let me ask you a question…” If that gets snagged, they will both be in trouble because John will have to fend off whatever whatever devil dogs it is. She might be the one who knows the combination for something you need to get to and now she is hanging upside down by her belly button piercing from the top of a chain-link fence. You have to think about these things!

Merlin’s wife watches The Walking Dead, which is really good, and if you would think just a little bit about what you would do if you were suddenly surrounded by zombies, you would be getting a lot fewer piercings and do a lot less Harajuku cosplay with funny shoes and complicated hair. You are going to be in situations where you have to make a lot of instantaneous decisions as you see down the tunnel of the future with all the options and all the branches you might have to deal with. Are you going to sit there thinking about a piercing?

That is why John walks around with that look on his face that has been carefully crafted to suggest that if the shit goes down suddenly when John is in an airport for instance, everyone in the room goes from being a civilized-person-in-an-airport person to being their ”Waaaahhh!”person. As they transform, scanning the room for the person closest to them that they either glom onto or try and cannibalize, John wants them to look at him and then choose the next person.

You are in a room with 1600 people and the facade is suddenly gone! John is not the guy whose back they are going to jump on and say: ”Carry me out of here!” Does John carry Gorp? John always has his eye on little pouches. He will talk all day about the makeshift weapons you can improvise in an airport terminal. Somewhere in America somebody is sitting at a console in a giant TSA warehouse and their computer just turned red. ”Weapons? Airport terminal? What?”

TSA Security Theater (RL23)

Whenever Merlin is in line at the TSA thing he is watching a little bit of TSA theater and every single time a recent immigrant pushes a 50 gallon bucket through the separate lane for airport employees. He does a blithe wave, pushing a giant un-inspected bucket while they are looking at old people’s wheelchairs to make sure that they don't have munitions and taking five year old’s shoes off to sniff them. Pretty recently Merlin got his man bag touched and that guy goes through with a 50 gallon bucket full of maybe lard, maybe C4 explosive. Even if it is just full of garbage, they are not going through and inspect every piece of garbage going in and out.

Old people having all of their teeth pulled (RL23)

John had a lot of dental issues in the past and had a lot of dental work done. His entire life is like the working script of Marathon Man! He actually had an orthodontic appointment today, but cancelled it at the last minute because he was exhausted and he lied to them that he was still in Los Angeles. He had braces for a lot longer than he needed to have and the only reason is that he keeps not following through on all the appointments and they tell him that they need to wait another nine months or something.

Merlin’s stepfather, who was an execrable Serb and a very bad man, had all his teeth pulled and had big false teeth like Tony Robbins. A lot of people in the old days had all their teeth pulled. Before there was dental hygiene and before there was a full understanding of how infections work your teeth were seen as the source of all these mysterious infections.

People routinely died or had chronic pain because of what was going on in the roots of their teeth and dentists would routinely recommended that they had all their teeth pulled as a health restorative. It sounds medieval, but the mother of Merlin’s former dentist was his dental hygienist and she gave him an article about how you would get a heart attack if you didn't floss your teeth clean enough. Apparently this was science now!

Triumph of the Will, The Nuremberg trials (RL23)

”I found myself” is an important passive construction phrase in Merlin’s life because so often he finds himself doing something for some reason like taking his ADD medicine too late. Last night he wasn't sleeping well and he woke up around 4am, which is an awful period between: ”I really need to go back to sleep!” at 2am and: ”I might as well get out!” at 5am.

Merlin did what he almost never does: He picked up the iPad and started reading about Triumph of the Will (see RL22) They may need to do an offshoot show, like a Laverne & Shirley to their Happy Days, where they only talk about World War II in general, and the Nazi specifically. It is so fascinating and Merlin doesn’t even know what angle to begin with, but the angle he chose this night was to learn more about the major figures.

He is very interested in Ernst Röhm and the SA in general, but he finally sat down and read the entire Wikipedia entries for Goering, Goebbels and Himmler. What a night! It is like watching The Wizard of Oz: You know how it goes, but it is interesting to see again now that he is older. Goering was a snappy dresser for a 400-pound (180 kg) human swine and he had a medieval hunting outfit with oversized pipe. John’s favorite has to be his powder-blue Air Force Reichsmarschall outfit. He designed his own flag!

Goering’s uniform looked like it might have had a preschool in it! It was very very large and it had that fat guy thing where it is not simply a long drapey jacket, but it actually has the shape of a very very large man. It becomes like a tent that might be used in the desert, or like a baseball glove: If you wear a glove long enough it looks a little bit like your hand.

Himmler seemed like the most troubling of those characters: He had cyanide embedded in his tooth and first tried to weasel out at the end by dressing up as somebody else. Goering cyanided himself in prison, but first he sat through the whole Nuremberg trial with a smirk on his face and after they sentenced him to death he kill himself in prison the day he was supposed to be hanged. They found him in his cell, it was an Ian Curtis thing. Ian Curtis in Reverse is a great Hollies song!

Goering just robbed all of us of the pleasure of killing him for vengeance. Ratko Mladić is still in Prison. Slobodan Milošević died of a heart attack in his prison cell because he was sad to death. Didn't one of them become a respected herbalist? (Radovan Karadžić was a poet) He grew a giant-ass beard and looks a little bit like John. The president of any one of those countries in the Balkans could be an astrologer at the drop of a hat. Hitler was into the occult and pseudoscience, too.

John has never ever felt suicidal and in those moments he would fight the guards to death and not sit in his prison cell and take that stuff. It is totally a pussy way out! Even in a situation where there is no way that fat old Hermann Goering was going to be able to fight these young American guards in his prison castle, he should at least give the old college try and throw himself off a balcony or something. Cyanide is the pussiest way, like General Grievous in Star Wars who used to be organic and is now mostly a robot with two opposable thumbs on each hand and a dislocatable shoulder so he can fight with four lightsabers, but like the Nazis he is ultimately a coward.

John didn’t know that somewhere inside of that General Grievous thing there is some kind of living organism. Merlin was reading on Wookieepedia that he is apparently secretly embarrassed that he is mostly cyborg. George Lucas expects us to believe that this CGI creation has the heart of a human. He has a bad cough, too! John has never watched those movies, he has only ever seen them on an airplane when he looked over and some poor kid's dad had put it on an iPad to try and keep them quiet: ”What is that stupid thing? That is the dumbest looking thing I ever saw! It has less to do with Star Wars than Harrison Ford and American Graffiti.

Merlin is really fucking glad he never had to guard John at Nuremberg because John would have been a real handful. The first thing you do is to get inside your guards’ minds to give them a little bit of the Stockholm syndrome in reverse where they are guarding you but then they start to like you. Obviously the Nazis were deplorable, but like the stormtroopers in Star Wars they are not always a good shot and they are not that bright. They are easily swayed by the dark side, or in John’s case just the force in general. John might have the force more than he is willing to admit, but he doesn’t talk about the force.

The Stormtroopers are clones, but Merlin just learned this recently himself when he made the excursion into those movies. He was fascinated to learn about Order 66 and he still has a lot of questions. In the original movies there was no mention of them being clones and it could be revisionism or the clone talk might have been in the books before the movies. Merlin asks if John wants him to bring up religion: ”Be careful, buddy! You got a fork that is dangerously close to electric outlet right now, my friend!”

John is very aware that he could turn that right around and ruin the rest of Merlin’s afternoon. He had an idea in mind fairly early on, but for example the secret of Star Wars that they never mention because you never know who might not know the best secret of Star Wars, did not appear anywhere until 1978 and they were still writing one of the awful scripts for Empire Strikes Back, Episode V.

John read in the newspaper yesterday that the guy who did the paintings that established all the look of Star Wars, Ralph McQuarrie just died. He was arguably the person with the single largest influence on why Star Wars was cool and looked the way it did. The main character used to be called Anakin Starkiller instead of Luke Skywalker.

John’s first acupuncture (RL23)

One time John had acupuncture. When he was lying on the acupuncture bed in a room that smelled like lavender and had weird bing-bong jazz playing, she put the needles in him and he was thinking: ”This is baloney!”, but all of a sudden he no longer felt the weight of his body, but he just felt his skin and every inch of his circulatory system like in those diagrams in old encyclopedias that show your circulatory system, the visible man stuff where you just see the outline of the human body as described by the circulatory system and the nerves. All of a sudden John could feel that! It was not abstract but it became his primary feeling.

John sat there for a minute or two and found it to be a fantastic sensation that he didn’t know what to make of. He molded over and then she started taking the needles out: ”What are you doing? Why are we stopping?” - ”It has been an hour!” - ”What? It has been three minutes!” - ”It has been an hour and 10 minutes, actually! We went over!” John didn’t know what that was and it didn’t actually help with his neck pain, which was the reason he came there. He walked out with just as much neck pain as he had before and maybe they put that 5th needle in just a micrometer to the side and they connected with his time traveler muscle instead, but it was amazing!

It was a like taking MDMA, not a thing that is predictable or reliable enough for John to go back and do this all the time. They sent him through space! He would try it again, but based on his experience he wouldn’t go with a pain in his neck and ask to get acupuncture for that. Instead you should have acupuncture for adventure all the time! If you can put a little pins in somebody and make them feel their circulatory system, you can do a lot of crazy shit! Maybe if it is an 80 year old Chinese man who knows exactly how to do it you can suddenly fly or have a lucid dream or you could get up early and develop a work ethic.

John has never been to a chiropractor. Many years ago Merlin created a website for a chiropractor and like every chiropractor he has met, there is nobody who is just a chiropractor, but they are all evangelists. There was so little he needed to understand about chiropractic to make a three page website! It feels a little Tony Robbins, like that religion we don't mention. Just sign up for 20 sessions and you will be happier and more financially secure! Obviously it seems a little fantastical to hook someone up to a box and then tell them how many years of payments you are going to need to fix them, that seems a little wacky.

Merlin has never read The Secret, but he also literally begs John to never bring up that book again. He is not proud about having been involved in the self-help industry and he had a very troubled relationship mentally with that for a long time, but boy that book makes him mad, especially the fact that Oprah pushed it.

Migraines (RL23)

Merlin asked his shrink about migraines because he was trying to get a friend some help who suffers from them. There is a famous migraine guy called Tom at the place where Merlin’s shrink is and he had helped Merlin with migraines before. Apparently one reason migraines are so difficult to treat is that they involve three different systems.

You can fix all kinds of things with fairly blunt objects, like taking Advil will probably help a little bit for a basic tension headache. Migraines combine the circulatory system, your muscles and neurology. It is not as simple as: ”You have a headache because your neck is tight!” It is very difficult to get that combination of things fixed and that is why people get so frustrated.

John does not have migraines, but his mom gets them and he recognizes that they are nightmarish. Merlin is very uncomfortable after any squirrelly change in diet if those diets mean he can't have coffee with cream, vodka or now tequila, he really likes tequila now. He found over time that this buffet diet choosing has been pretty reasonable for him.

Emmanuelle movies showing an engine for sex (RL23)

Merlin has seen several Emmanuelle movies. The one where she goes to South Africa, called Black Emmanuelle, was during apartheid. It is soft core pornography meaning there is much more plot than you want and not as much sex as you want, like an English travel documentary that happens to have boobs in it. In every instance when they would start to have sex there was heavy petting and boob kissing, which is what happens in sex, and at the point when the man would mount the female they would always cut to either a video demonstration of how a internal combustion engine works, a scene of a steam locomotive powering across the verdant Welt, or an X1 Rocket tests, which was hilariously funny.

Then they would cut back to them having sex. Merlin thinks John got some off-brand Emmanuelle because that is not what he remembers. It was in the later Emmanuelles while the early ones were more pure and they just zoomed in on the boob kissing. Merlin loved the boob kissing! The later ones had steam locomotives and some Techron demonstration, which becomes part of our mental model for how it works inside. We know it is very confusing, we know the poop comes out so it must be all bad news in there, and Merlin is not saying it is bad to get rid of that.

The Gravity Bar, the book by the guy who could talk to angels (RL23)

In the early 1990s there was a raw vegetable bar on Broadway called The Gravity Bar. They would steam the vegetables just for a second and you could get them raw or steamed with a little side of Tahini. It was like a salad bar with a philosophy, except it looked like it was in the future and it only hired the most beautiful fresh-faced girls who had a light coating of perspiration on their faces. They were so beautiful because they glowed and were wet with beauty, and with slightly darker skin sometimes.

Although John didn't eat another vegetable in any other component or capacity in his life, he would go to this place and they were delicious meals. He also learned to drink wheatgrass juice, which he loves to this day. The Gravity Bar was like going to a spaceport and John would talk to the beautiful girls behind the counter and eat vegetables with Tahini.

Everybody else in The Gravity Bar was also in space with you. John would take shots of wheatgrass juice like he was in an Old West Saloon and he was daring all the people around him, like ”Come on! Who's gonna drink with me? Who's gonna have another shot of wheatgrass juice? I love it! It is better than carrot juice! In fact: Give me a carrot juice chaser!” John dated some of the girls who worked there, it was a very productive time for him.

Merlin remembers meeting a lady whom John had been with for a pretty long time and who worked in a nice restaurant-café. Early on a lot of the women in John’s life were people who were able to give him food or drink, but later on he started to date girls who worked in library science, which was a nice trend for a while. They want to help so much and they speak softly, which is nice when you have a tendency to get agitated.

As John spent more time in this Gravity Bar he started to notice that they had a small shelf of books and being someone who has never shied away from a small shelf of books he started to go over and ask questions about it until he eventually bought a book about the super-miracle-cleanse of 25 years ago. It was the story of how the guy went on a fast and then started taking cleansing herbs.

He described that our intestines and our inner workings are caked with hardened fecal matter which constricts our pipes until all of our poo is just going through a tiny little aperture because all of the hardened black bile poo that fills up every imagination of your gut like fecal spackle. This was not Coffee Enema Guy, although John did date a girl who had wheatgrass enemas as part of a treatment. Merlin heard that it is like a bicycle inner tube when it comes out. John once tried ear candling, but there is nothing a Q-tip can’t do.

The author was telling the story about sitting in a bathtub and extruding hardened fecal matter like a bicycle inner tube except made of roofing tar, of Carter Administration era beef, and John was thinking to himself that it seemed extreme, but if that was really in him he would like to get it out. He went on and on that as the stuff comes cleaving off of the walls of your insides their pink life is restored and all you need to do is eat one broccoli floret a day and its vitamins will be transmitted to you instantaneously and automatically. John was like: ”This is incredible! I'm really into this!”

In the last chapter of the book, which most people probably don't get to, he talked about the last day of his fast and about walking up and sitting Indian-style on the top of a mountain while angels visited him and told him that he was a good man. They told him how to juggle four beanbags, they told him all these magical things, and they told him that they could only visit him now that his colon was pink. That is why angels don't visit us all! Their primary interface with us is our colon! This book was just that much more horse-shit and John doubted any of this stuff happened to him.

He talked about getting a tapeworm out by sitting in a bathtub full of warm milk. The tapeworm likes the milk better and pokes his little head out of your butt to drink the bathtub milk and once his head comes out you don't jump on him right away because you will spook him, but once he gets comfortable you grab his head, you wrap it around a pencil, and you twist the pencil. The tapeworm is 45 feet (14 m) long and you have to keep this pencil with the first foot and a half (45 cm) of a tapeworm wrapped around hanging out of your butt for the week that it takes for you to gradually twist the tapeworm out. Do you keep crudités near the tub to nourish yourself? You sit in there and you burn a bunch of oil!

If you have stuff to do, like go to work or whatever, you get out of the tub and you put on some magic hammer pants and you sit on one a kneeling chair at work where your butt never touches the thing. ”What a day at work! I gotta get home to my milk bath and twist another foot and a half of this tapeworm out!” At that point John suddenly found himself sitting on a stool in a vegan restaurant, reading about a guy who had discharged 40 pounds (18 kg) of butt-tar and then could talk to angels. This whole thing was a scam and John went across the street to get a bacon burger.

Merlin's ex worked at a place where people were very into coffee enemas. They would run off these things for you and if you get deep into this stuff you start photographing it and it becomes something almost like Hustler where people are showing each other their bicycle inner tubes. Merlin sees a cautionary tale there! When they were kids there were ubiquitous Shell gas station ads and booklets about how to drive safer, with animations showing pistons going in and out in a basic animation showing you how it would get all gummed up if you didn't use Techron in your gas. One of the gas stations in the 1970s would also give you a little Matchbox car, but that sounds like a BP kind of thing.

Even before the last chapter of the book, reading it was a slow soak in a warm milky bath to get you to that point. When you get to the end you think that ancient shit is all that keeps the angels off your mountain, but Merlin wants that in there, he wants that impacted, and he really wants to limit the number of angels on his mountain, regardless of how he is sitting. You are up on your mountain, here come the angels, and you're like: ”Okay, I still have enough presence of mind to know that this is unusual!”

John has spent his whole life trying to stay within the bounds and he didn’t want to be on either flange on the angel bell curve. If scraping the poop out of his insides puts him all the way out on the far end, then he might want his poop back because how is he to know whether or not he will be surviving off that poop when the apocalypse comes? This guy also said that a crayon came out of him that he ate when he was six years old. You are telling me that crayon has been in there for 40 years?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License