A scripted, absurdist take on history, pop culture, animals, religion, conspiracies, music, books, language, the paranormal, insects, Johnny Appleseed, The Harlem Globetrotters, McDonald's, Satan, God, humanity, crows, Reptilians, alternative medicine, bees, Eddie Vedder, Americana, Esperanto, Platypuses, me, you, him, her, them, and whatever Chris Gaines was supposed to be. Rife with lies. Sometimes there are songs.
In 1972, Richard Nixon went to China and Neil Diamond recorded Hot August Night.
The Russians landed another unmanned craft on the moon, against all sense and reason, adding to their already substantial supply of rocks.
There was a flood in the Black Hills and The Godfather was in theatres. Watergate. Bloody Sunday.
Momentous occasions, all.
Busta Rhymes and Shaquille O’Neal were born. Ezra Pound died.
Carl Stalling died.
Sag Jenkins didn’t know about any of this. He was sitting, pants-on, in an overheated fiberglass port-a-potty, soaked in sweat, breathing the thick stink of 200 s***s, swigging from an old glass liter vodka bottle filled with new cheap whiskey, now three-fourths gone. In twenty minutes, Sag Jenkins was supposed to jump thirty-five cars on his motorbike, and there was no way he’d make it. In twenty minutes, 227 attendees of the Argus County Speedway in Golgotha, South Dakota would watch Sag Jenkins die.
But for now he was drinking. For now he felt alright. Depressed but drunk, and that was as all right as he got these days.
Sag – born Sagory Troyal Jinkins III on the 10th of March, 1938, in, maybe ironically, depending on how you choose to define that word, a filthy, makeshift outhouse behind a perilous shanty in the god-and-everyone-else-forsaken Plimsol County of Wyoming – a town called - get this – Trashton – to Sagory Troyal Jinkins II, who was not present for the event, was rarely present, not really – was, at the time, drinking somewhere, presumably – and his young wife, Artis Barbara-Anne Jinkins, who was, obviously.
Present that is.
Sag was, at this moment, the moment we started with, before the jump that would kill him, in the port-a-potty, wearing his leathers - the Evel Knievel, red white and blue knock offs sported by seemingly all daredevils of the time - each with its own arrangement of the colors. Sag's were a particularly heinous variation, with thin red and blue vertical stripes running from his red patent boots up to the increasingly doughy flesh of his neck - just starting to spill over the collar – even daredevils are forced to melt into oblivion if they don’t kill themselves first - with a single white star splayed across the back.
He looked like a fucking clown, would have felt like a clown sober. But he hadn't found himself anywhere near that particular state – sobriety - for a substantial stretch in maybe six months - ever since his oldest son, Clinton Sagory Jinkins - a kid of thirteen, big for his age, with just enough sense to know that a man - even ones father, especially ones father - needs a punch in the nose every once in a while but not quite enough sense to always exactly know the right time to dole out that punch or hard enough fists, yet anyway, to make that punch say just what it needed to - had, despite of and because of these deficiencies, dealt him, Sag, a punch in the nose that, due to its lateness - or earliness, maybe, it's hard to say - did not a damn thing but send his already spiraling father on an unnglorious bender – a particularly notable bender in a long stretch of less notable ones in that it was a predominantly sad bender - that, frankly, didn't suit him any more than the leathers did.
Those ill suited leathers were now unzipped and pulled down to the waist so that Sag Jinkins' growing paunch could expand to its full size, protruding from beneath his still thinnish, sunken, hair splotched chest like a loaf of uncooked bread on a warped, knife scarred,
Listen. I’m well aware that the last thing the world needs is another biography of Klaus Nomi. He’s already a household name on par with James Polk, young John Cusack, and the Andrews Sisters. What could I – a humble podcast magnate - possibly add to the reams upon reams of information already available to you via your home library, public library, magazine subscriptions, nightly newscasts, corner newsstand, and pocket super computer? Everywhere one looks, his angular, alien features – slathered in pancake make-up, and cartoonish brow, accented by plastic three pronged hair, are emblazoned upon baseball caps, halter tops, and business casual velveteen capes. It’s tattooed to the ankles of desperate baristas, crudely scotch taped to the bedroom walls and locker doors of lovesick tweenagers. Cover bands with names like No Means Nomi and Klaus Kall bogart stage time at VFW Posts in every American town. His ghostly counter-tenor fills sporting stadiums, dank bars, dusk tinged city streets, massage parlors, opium dens, and Subarus. His songs soundtrack what sometimes feels like every third movie preview and gingersnap commercial.“Enough is enough!” you may be shouting. “Yes, he is a gift – a jewel in humanity's crown, recognized and beloved by all. But have we not reached the point of saturation? The man has been dead for a score and ten – perhaps it’s time we move on?”We will, in time, dear listener. I’m sure of it. After this recording, perhaps.Wait? What’s that? You’ve never heard of Klaus Nomi? Could it be true? Excuse me? They don’t make advertisements for gingersnaps? Since when? Oh, well, please accept my apologies. It seems I’ve just woken from the most beautiful dream.In that case, allow me to fill in some holes.
Gorgeous George was the most prominent and important figure in wrestling’s ascent into the American zeitgeist, largely due to his gimmick. But he wasn’t the first or, most assuredly the last, wrestler to adopt a unique persona for the ring. The history of wrestling is littered with characters. Some have been wildly successful -Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Big Boss Man - who became household names and can illicit the most bittersweet of remembrances in vast armies of doughy diabetics, nerds, and toothless, bigoted human trash.
But others - for any number of reasons - have been all but lost to time - yellowing, bedoodled, unread appendices to the vast tome of human history. I’d like to take this opportunity to dust off a few of these inane curiosities - these brushed aside beefcakes, these dusty hulks - and re-expose them to the harsh glare of cultural recognition.
Roy Herman, The Stout Strangler
Roy Herman was a German immigrant that rose to fame on our shores in the late 19th century, mostly due to his stoutness. “Built like a whiskey jug”, he was but 3 inches taller than he was wide. Neither particularly burly or soft, he seemed to be made of hardwood, folks said, and could not be, was not ever, toppled. Rumor has it, he slept standing, as the strain of rising was too much a burden. His signature move was just a two handed, standard strangle that was often fatal. He died as he lived, strangled to death in 1907 by his own two hands, after first strangling our next grappler.
Penis length, 4 and one half inces. Penis diameter 7/8s of an inch.
“Hurtful” Lenny DeVorak
So named for his cutting and mean spirited wit. He talked such a mean game, his opponents would often just walk out of the ring, quitting the profession all together. As an example, the reported run of shit talk that got him and The Stout Strangler strangled to death: “Why, you’re more chair than man and with half the brains! Your mother was a chiffarobe, see? Your father an ape! A German ape! Imagine, ladies and gentlemen, a hairy K***t mounting a chest of drawers! Nine months later, young master Roy comes into the world with his father’s looks and his mother’s brains! I’d soon as use you to store my pantaloons as to spar! Egad, man, I don’t know how you do it? Were I you, I’d quit this whole business and look for work as a tree stump!”
Penis length 6 and a quarter inches. Penis diameter, 1 and three fourths inches.
Muscled Dick Rockingham
Dick Rockingham had a lot of muscles for a white man in 1910. That is to say, he looked like a modern man of average build, maybe a little doughy, but who flexed a lot. He was primarily known for his catch-phrase, “I’m Muscled Dick Rockingham and I’m stronger than a very large bear!” He died in 1918 while trying to prove this claim.
Penis length 3 inches. Penis width 2 inches.
Herbert Heaver was, obviously, a wrestling parody of President Herbert Hoover, and one of the first “character wrestlers”. There wasn’t much to the character other than the name and his signature move, The Herbert Heave-Ho.
Died in 1925 of complications during a routine eye exam.
Penis length 5 and a quarter inches. Penis Diameter three fourths of an inch.
Sad Cowboy Tony
Sad Cowboy Tony was a mystery man, a weathered, depressive relic of the old west, out of time and place in 1940s New York. No one could say who he was or where he’d come from, but he dressed in full cowboy regalia – boots, spurs, chaps, a huge belt buckle ensconced, strangely,
James Brown, John Waters, Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali.
What do these four men have in common?
Skin, hair, nipples. Other mammalian traits.
I bet they all liked Cheers.
But most importantly – what I’m getting at, the topic of this episode – is Gorgeous George, an old timey wrestler who also had a penis and was a mammal and probably would have liked Cheers, had he lived to see it.
Sadly, he did not.
Each of these men, Brown, Waters, Dylan, and Ali – world changing cultural figures all, their contributions to our modern world incalculable – were inspired by Gorgeous George nee George Wagner, a flamboyant, hulking, blond bombshell of a man who fancied ornate, lacy robes, liquor, and prostitutes, and made his bones faux-grappling with various and sundry half-nude, oil soaked brutes to the delight of shrieking rubes in stadiums and on unaccountably massive early televisions.
He probably inspired others too. They were probably mostly nameless violent lunkheads and drag queens or both, I suppose, which is impressive in itself. Most people, if they inspire anyone at all, only inspire violent lunkheads or drag queens. Rarely is this a significantly intersecting Venn Diagram.
So who was this man who inspired the men who inspired the world, in addition to violet lunkheads and drag queens and violent drag queen lunkheads?
I told you. He was a wrestler. In the 1940’s and 50’s. Now I’ll tell you more.
A pair of anecdotes, to begin: 1929. Just outside of Houston. George Wagner is fourteen years old, living with his parents. He’s dropped out of school and is working odd jobs to support the family because his mother’s sick and his father’s kind of a hapless house painter at a time when nobody can afford to have their house painted. They certainly weren’t going to get their rickety Hooverville shacks painted. What would be the point? I guess personal pride and a desperate grasp for individual expression in a pretty hopeless time, which, when you think about it, is pretty noble and understandable and really the only reason anyone does anything beyond the ruthless necessities of survival. Why do I pay to have my house painted? Why do I wear a sports coat? Why do I speak, for that matter, beyond obtaining sustenance and shelter?
It’s all pretty pointless.
Anyway. Times were tough. Even tougher than normal. But George was a robust young man with not a little innate personal magnetism, and that quality, as it often does, soon opened up a few more opportunities beyond the usual shoveling of coal or bailing of hay or whatever it is that poor schlubs do for money.
I wouldn’t know. I have a fancy desk job and am very well to do.
Specifically, it opened up some opportunities at the traveling carnivals that were so popular at the time. These roving curiosities would often feature – in addition to the freak shows and palm readers and such – strongmen- different from just strong men in that they were employed based on their strongness - and sometimes the strongmen would grapple with each other on a stage, and sometimes when they were done grappling each other they’d challenge folks in the audience to step up and do some grappling as well. Brave, dumb folks’d pony up two bits for the privilege, and, if they won, could pridefully swagger home with twenty times that amount jangling in the pockets of their worn overalls or clasped in their calloused fists if the worn overalls were so worn as to have unfunctional pockets. Often as not, though, the gristly brute that would raise his hand to step up to the challenge was a plant,
Madam Lechuga’s Celebrity Haunted Apartment
Apparitions. Ghosts. Spooks. Haints. Whatever you want to call them, you haven’t seen spirits like this before.
Hello. I’m world renowned palm reader and séance professional Madame Esperanza Lechuga, owner of Madame Lechuga’s Celebrity Haunted Apartment, and boy, have we got dead celebrities. My place is lousy with ‘em.
UFOs Pt. II
I investigate the mysterious Dick Moss and come to some startling conclusions.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Beautiful and Interesting!
Love listening to this as I am walking around and getting lost in my own thoughts as well. This interesting “story” is more of a poetic stream of thoughts but extremely well spoken. A lyrical escape!
Anyone who calls Ronald McDonald ‘an American Gollum’ is alright by me! I usually only listen to non fiction podcasts but my eye was caught by this title. It is a surprisingly relaxing stream of consciousness that is poetic, lyrical almost. The world needs something a little bit off centre like this :)