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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #218
Danny's algorithmic oxymoron
David Gunn

Two thousand three hundred and eighty-two years ago today, an improbable Chinese mystic named Lao-Tzu, working without a research grant, used a simple philosophic algorithm to discover a creative-destructive force called the wu. Scrupulous analysis determined that this wu brought everything into being, and then, after it had had its little joke, dissolved everything back into non-being. As one might expect, the being went about responding to stimuli, perceiving realities, both true and imagined, doing all those crazy things that semi-sentient consciousnesses do, but then, without so much as a "see you later," it executed a kind of nihilistic fandango and reverted to non-active noneness. Instantly, the process repeated itself -- or, not instantly, really, because the passage of time there was irrelevant -- reinventing the process along the way. Mr. and Mrs. Tzu -- for Lao worked closely with an imaginary wife -- called this process the Dao, which stood for Dannyís algorithmic oxymoron. To this day, scholars have been unable to figure out who Danny was, although some believe itís an acronym for something even more arcane.

Down through the centuries, belief in the Dao persisted, although more than two civilizations tried to beat it into submission. As it endured, it changed gradually, an inevitability prophesied by Mrs. Tzuís sister, Lulu -- according to Lao, a creative-destructive force in her own right, but thatís another story. After the Tzus left this mortal plain and moved to Brussels, some of the sectís clerics attempted to re-channel the yin and yang of the wu. The being to non-being philosophy was discarded in favor of church gaming prognostications, a not-for-profit levitation-on-demand company, and a witness protection program for faith healers, alchemical engineers and investment strategy consultants who claimed close visionary communication with the spirit world. The algorithm became less finite, more recursive, until the Dao metaphysic existed primarily in the lagomorphous interstice between truth and half-truth, between being and nothingness -- the Ling-pao and the Chicken almond ding. Though embarrassingly lucrative, Dannyís algorithmic oxymoron had been reduced to the dogmatic equivalent of a limerick. But, like the phoenix bird of Arizona myth, it eventually rose from its humiliating ashes to regain some of its former pith. And who should come along to champion the tenants of this apartment complex of theological thought? Of course, it was a bunch of musicians.

The musicians were from the western hemisphere and learned of the decidedly eastern philosophy from one of the sectís subsidiaries, Dao Chemical. Many of the musicians were habitual users of the companyís Brewerís Yeast with Lysergic Acid, a product that provided B-complex vitamins in a quirkily hallucinogenic base. Under the vitaminís influence, they were often able to play strikingly enigmatic music, however just as often they might put down their saxophones on the condiment table by the wiener concession stand and later have no memory of ever even owning the instrument.

Sergeant Major Balthasar Babcock, senior administrative officer of the Royal Fusileers Battalion at Lorry Upon Kent, a figure who has once again been borrowed from a future Kalvos & Damianís New Music Bazaar radio program and who appears in this episode under even more duress than last time, once had to subdue seven members of the Battalion Band who had ingested six ampoules of the Dao Chemical vitamin supplement prior to performing in the All-England Elimination Tone Row Band Competition. Although they had been eliminated for employing an illegal aleatoric algorithm in their quarterfinal match, they continued to play the same passage for nearly two hours.

By a striking coincidence, nearly two hours is all that remains in the life of the wu algorithm in this 218th episode, a conclusion that can best be explained by our own creative-destructive force, Kalvos.