Archive for the ‘Posts that are intended to raise funds for the art of stinKing’ Category



Thinking about the abject today, I looked them up on Wikipedia. This arose somehow from hearing the phrase ‘wiki waki’ in a Roy Acuff song, ‘I Like Mountain Music’, which I’d been listening to on repeat for about 45 minutes. He had been to Hawaii, you see, or at least he’d been there in the lyrics, and what he was doing in this song was trying to convince us that, though he appreciated the music he heard there, it paled in comparison to the music he knew from home, particularly that, so he tells us, played by a real hillbilly band. So, again, that led to Wikipedia, as all roads lead to Wikipedia. How the word ‘abject’ jumped on board along the way I don’t quite remember (a manifestation of a mindset, no doubt). But look it up, do, wiki it and you’ll see Julia Kristeva hanging out there, just as she seems to hang out in any other sleazy, neglected, obscure area, tossing cigarette butts into the alley over the balcony railings and pretty much dominating the area from on high. Right off the bat she starts in about corpses and the rejection of the maternal and pretty soon I’m mind retching. One respects her though, of course, because if you don’t she’ll pop you in the chops. And then explain away your pain. Smooth, that. Kristevan. Is that a word yet? I Googled it – it kind of is.

But this wasn’t going anywhere, and so I spent a few quarter hours wading through the Mars One website. You’ve heard of this. A bunch of Dutch people want to send six people at a time to live out the rest of their lives on the red planet. How Dutch. I think. There are probably approximately eight thousand questions to ask of this venture, and yet all that bubbles up into my head when I ponder life on Mars is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eyeballs popping out. And c’mon, that didn’t look real at all. Not that I’ve ever seen anyone’s eyeballs pop out from exposure to the Martian atmosphere but, you know, c’mon. Plasticine, and the weather turning, I don’t trust it. To take another example I went out to the shed to check and the hinge had rusted frozen, that quick, and I couldn’t get in. I was going to use the sledgehammer to bust it open but of course it was in the shed, along with the claw hammer and the ball peen hammer. Then as I contemplated next moves I got sidetracked into wondering what a ‘peen’ was, and went to look it up. It turned out to be not an ‘it’ but an ‘is’. A verb, I mean. If you’re peening something it means you’re wacking at it, the it being a metal something. Like after welding, say to cut down on the old tensile stress. Very important, I’m sure.

That’s when I noticed, cocking my ear away from the screen, that ‘I Like Mountain Music’ was still on repeat. ‘You can’t beat “Turkey in the Straw”, by cracky!’, Roy Acuff said, for the hundredth time. So I found ‘Turkey in the Straw’ online, by the ‘Original’ Schnickelfritz Band, and listened to it, and thought about what might beat it. A ball peen hammer perhaps. Then I went back out to the shed, and the hinge, thinking ‘By god, by god. That’s me all over. The bent hats, the flannel, the ill-placed saxophone. “Turkey in the Straw”, c’est moi.’ And I found a big stone, looking like it was river-smoothed, or had the edges worn off of it by the power of Julia Kristeva’s analytics, which is just the sort of thing she would do, and I picked it up, heavy in the hand, heavy as seven fully loaded staplers, maybe eight, and I just winged it at the hinge. I missed, though, should have stood closer really, and it went crashing off through the woods, which is what we like to call the hedgerow between our house and the neighbor’s, and made a noise like the shattering of glass.

I thought again about those boys in the barn. Something was wrong; played it back in my mind they just didn’t look right. It bothered me, and so I went back inside to look it up. ‘S-C-H-N-I-C-K’, I typed, ‘E-L-F-R-I-T-Z.’ I needed to know. Sure enough, weren’t they a band put together for a Busby Berkeley bit with Rudy Vallee in it? This left me somewhere, though I wasn’t quite sure where, and so I went out to look for the stone. I pushed through the hedgerow, earning a few stripes from the thicket within and, once safely through to the other side and pressed up against the neighbor’s house, saw that the stone had come to a rest, perfectly, on the floor next to the sofa in my neighbor’s living room. Suddenly I wanted it back. I noticed that my neighbor himself was taking a nap on that very sofa and so I tipped my head through the window, careful not to bring my cheek or neck in contact with any of the jagged edges of glass therein, which I found to be quite a dangerous thing to let hang around, and I shout-whispered ‘Buddy!’ (I never had learned his name.) ‘Psst! Hey buddy!’ I said. ‘Wake up, huh? That’s my stone there.’ But nothing. To be honest I would wonder about him, though. Anybody that would let a big pulpy mess like that fester on his head while just sitting around in the middle of the day napping has got problems if you ask me.

So I reached through the window, minding again the jagged bits, and unlocked his window before pushing it up the frame, damn shards falling and lodging in my hand, some of them. I stuck that hand in my armpit to do its stanching then rolled on in. The crunching sound I heard I knew immediately was more bad news. Man is cursed. More shards of glass. What is wrong with people today? The stone was still there, though, and so I got up and grabbed it. I was tossing it up to myself, catching it, trying to cheer up my neighbor, or wake him, or anything really, badly as he kept his house, wanting to remain on friendly terms, when in comes this woman, typically hysterical, waving her arms and shouting incoherently, kind of hopping from one foot to the next as if she couldn’t decide if she wanted to leave or stay. Women. Having had enough at that point, I waved goodbye to them both with my rock and took my leave back through the window, not that either of them responded in any sort of cordial way, the one screaming and shouting the guy’s name (Phil? Bill? It was hard to tell), while the other just carried right on with his nap. Society is deteriorating, that much is clear. Julia Kristeva probably pointed something like that out at some point, I’m sure, finger flat on the pulse she got and all. Well at least I guess I know now who won’t be coming to dinner. No thanks. I’ll just stick to me YouTube in the Straw and Roy Acuff on repeat.


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Language is a body and violence can be done to it, particularly with punctuation, and nothing is quite as punctilious punctuationwise as an aposiopesis. An aposiopesis, we learn, is a written equivalent of the ‘becoming silent’ – signalled at the end of the beginning of a thought on one hand by a dash to denote the violent cutting off of words, and on the other hand by an ellipsis, or a ‘falling short’, for the loss of will, the joke with no punchline, the failure to complete…



‘Is that a dagger which I see before me? Why I nev–’


‘Huh. When I put it down, over there, in the drawer, in the hallway table, the one outside the kids’ room, I could have sworn, I was definite in fact, that the, that the safety…’


Aposiopesis Maximus

So where the dash is a dagger to the heart of the sentence, the ellipsis is three neat spots of blood trickled from its personhood, signalling its waning strength. And why three? Why always three? From whence came our love of the trio? Why is something not complete until the introduction of the third, while we walk on two legs and the beasts of the land walk on four? Yes a stool is unstable until comes the third leg, and everything after is superfluous, but can you see a three-legged peacock? You can not.

Why three when we couple in twos? Why tack on the holy ghost when the father and the son would have been fine on their own? What are the origins of the three? It’s three blind mice, and three wise monkeys, and three sheets to the wind (those being only three examples). Why are three cuff buttons on a man’s jacket the essence of elegance?

Yet one tries to picture an ellipsis made of only two points, and it is too horrible to imagine, too horrible.. Similarly, try to think of a sentence stunted by a hyphen rather than the mighty em-dash—I mean, wha-

The ingloriousness of it – like death by toothpick. Just ask Sherwood Anderson, who died after swallowing an hors d’oeuvre avec un cure-dent. It slashed his pouch to pieces. We don’t know how many.

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The International Art Community (IAC) has been badgering Knits a stinK for ages to give comment on the work of Claes Oldenburg, the Swedish/American artist who for the past half century or so has been providing larger-than-life evidence of the thinginess of stuff via the medium of stuffed things. Not animals. Not stuffed animals, mind you. Other stuffed stuff. Inanimate objects. Ice cream cones, paper clips, paint brushes, lipstick mounted upright on tank tracks, that sort of thing. Things at 1:32 size, like models viewed from the wrong end of the telescope. Not that sort of model.

Why the pickle on top?

Why the pickle on top?

Sometimes they are sloppily done, and intentionally so, with the paint bleeding outside the appropriate edges, and the seams split, and the material cracked, making for an altogether messy affair, as if made by a giant child. Others are as rigid and formulaic as military projects. What does it mean to make small things big? What’s that say about us? And why is he from Sweden? What does that say about him? Is he making fun of us for metaphorically enbiginating relatively insignificant objects and/or otherwise paltry ideals?

A typical Swedish dinner.

A typical Swedish dinner.

If so, should we retaliate? And if so repeated, then how? Is it too reactionary to make very small facsimiles of things that are of large importance to Swedes, such as Lutfisk, or saunas? We could employ Slinkachu, the artist of very small things who, although not American, is British, and therefore a subset of American, if I am right in my thinking. (Britons, am I right in my thinking?) Slinkachu makes small people – very small people – so they could be posed outside the Swedish embassy in America (or the American embassy in Sweden, whichever would be more impactful) coming out of their tiny saunas, with towels the size of tabs of acid wrapped around their waspish waists, shaking their Lutfisks at the security gates. Maybe the Swedes wouldn’t notice them, though. They are very tall, after all.

The spoils of war.

The spoils of war.

Perhaps we could put up a statement of intent, or a blinking neon sign or something. And a St*rb*cks. And an American flag, but not a really small one – a really big one. Texas big. With Claes Oldenburg’s beautiful face painted onto it by giant children. Though I suppose that would distract from the Slinkachuan Swede and his sauna. No one ever said that art was easy. The Institute for International stinK Knitting (IIKK) is currently seeking governmental funding to get this project underway. Please write to your Representative stating your support.

Eat that, IAC!

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But that was how it started, anyway, with the animals. Because he was all about the animals, always. Howie was just one of those people. Animal people. Always feeding them, brushing them, changing the water in their trough. Real caring, you know the type. That was him. And it came to the point that he all but forgot about everyone else. I mean, he didn’t exactly, but you know yourself. He was distracted, and they were his outlet. Big brutes, and him the biggest brute amongst them. But gentle of course, at the same time.

And you know he had an orchard on his land. Big one, passed down to Howie from the illustrious Howie lineage – apples mostly, a few pear trees – and his thing was he would scoop up the fruit they hadn’t already picked from where it fell on the orchard floor, plop it in a wheelbarrow and dump it in the trough. Small farm, you know, makes sense to recycle. Plus, so he claimed, it made the pigs taste scrumptious. His word, ‘scrumptious’. He had his contradictions, Howie, an animal person who ate meat, but then don’t we all? He loved those pigs, or at least it seemed that way, and he loved to eat them up scrumptious. Seems simple enough. Why ask questions?

So what was it? That big lashing wind storm in late autumn after our long, steamy summer, the fruit fat, split skin popping on the limbs, then a week of heavy rain giving no window for Howie to harvest his feed. So that was when he finally mucked out there, after the devastation was done. He had to pry them up all bruised from the mud, hundreds of them, rotten as they were. But then what’s rotten to a pig? Got a gut like a trash compactor, can take anything, one would think, and not even blink.

Maybe this was a bad batch of pigs or something. Maybe there was something not right about them. Of course the talk is going the other way. It’s all Howie’s fault. People say that he did it on purpose, that it was an experiment of some variety, or a straight up insult to the community, but he never seemed like that sort of person. Whatever that sort of person might be; it’s hard to say. One doesn’t expect to have that kind of run-in out here. Pig party. Mayhem. Disgrace. Chaos.

You know how rumors go. They spread like fungus across the land. In one he was on his hands and knees in the sty, face down in the trough with the pigs. Another said it had nothing to do with the apples at all, that he has a still somewhere in the trees behind the barn and that he fed it to them direct. Some for you, some for me. Some for you, some for me. What do we know, though? All we know is that he was drunk and so were his pigs, and that all five of them went on what neighbors are calling a ‘rampage’ through the town, though really all they did was rip up a garden or two and knock over the arrow sign for the Video Vault. Was he riding on the back of the big sow? It doesn’t seem likely. And the saddle? Almost definitely a bit of color thrown in by some wag. He doesn’t even have horses – where would he have got it? Say what you like about him, Howie’s no thief. He’s an animal lover. He ain’t no sowboy.

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The first question, inevitably, is: why? Why would a people take up and call themselves the Kwakwaka’wakw? Why not just Kwa, or, okay, we’ll give it to them, Kwakwa? That would be pretty sensible, but still fun. On the other hand, why stop at Kwakwaka’wakw? Why not Kwakwaka’wakwkakwa’kawakwaka’wakawakawaka? I mean, once you’ve started…

And did they not have any other sound in their language besides ‘kwa’? It’s as if it was invented by Fozzie Bear.

But then, when a culture comes up with the finest art ever created by any human community throughout all time, perhaps they are allowed an eccentric name. Exaggeration? Only a little.

I was going to do a few drawings for this post, but you know what? Why mess with perfection?

If that ain’t an eagle I don’t know what is. The goalie for the Vancouver Canucks should adopt this as his new mask immediately.

Or how about this guy:

We all know somebody like that, right? That’s truth there.

Then there are these dudes:

If only we all could have a friend like that. This Kwakwaka’wakw habit of filling in boring spaces – such as a forehead – with another figure, is apparently called ‘punning’. What a good idea. So efficient.

And just one more, if you’ll indulge me:


How can you not love it? To boot they have a character called the Bookwus – yes, that’s right, the book wuss – who is also known as the wild man of the woods, which makes it seem as if he were inappropriately named.

Now this is too good, okay, so I’m just going to copy it straight out of Wikipedia in the assumption that it’s correct. They say that the Bookwus ‘eats ghost food out of cockle shells and tries to offer this to living humans who are stranded in the woods.’ If this food is eaten then the victim becomes another book wuss, and gets to live in an invisible house in the forest and throw parties for the spirits of the drowned. I don’t know about you, but I’d eat from that cockle shell.

We would now like to invite our Knitsa readers to submit to us their Kwakwaka’wakw-style interpretations of animals native to where they live. Please send the finished products to our head offices, and make sure to pack it in plenty of straw so that it may survive the journey. A turtle would be good to see, as would a lemur. Remember to paint them in vivid colo(u)rs, and to minimize on punless space.

Good luck!

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Knits a stinK has been doing a lot of thinking lately about the development of Western civilization. We’ve been reading book(s), trying to figure this out, looking to take a stand somewhere or other, to have a viewpoint, and with the power of reflection it seems to us that there are a few strands that stick out and beg to be pulled. We present to you here a certain few motes that have filtered through the cheesecloths of our minds. Juice features large, as does the colo(u)r purple (although not necessarily at the same time), when it comes down to encapsulating this place, this idea, we have come to know as Europe. Galileo pops up once or twice as well, as is his wont – putting the ‘perv’ in ‘impervious’ – as does Tyre, which is the symbolic starting point for old heart Europe.

Tyre, you see, which is currently located within the borders of Lebanon, and known by them as ‘Sour’, is the historic birthplace of Europa, that saucy lass that tempted Zeus to steal her away to Mt Olympus or wherever, disguised as a bull (Zeus that is, not Europa). One of the first horns of a dilemma. The Tyre king must not have been too happy. This was well before Helen went the other direction, don’t you know.

Europa coined.

PLUS, Tyre was well known in those days as a center for the production of purple. Our friend legend has it that some dude was walking along the Levantine seaside with his dog, when he (the dog) got a wild hair and bounded after a band of sea snails. Well apparently the dog came back and Heracles (who may or may not have been Hercules) cranked open the animal’s mouth for some ancient reason and saw that it was stained this lovely shade, falling in the range between dried blood and the colo(u)r of the sky in the last moments before night.

Well didn’t old Heracles think that was a hoot. And didn’t he show the King of Tyre, and didn’t the King of Tyre say to himself, that’s a shade I wish to associate myself with. Myself and no one else. I will be the King of Snails, and people will see me and say, ‘That sea snail-colo(u)red man is one powerful being, that much is obvious, I think I might just bow to him when he passes,’ but with a Tyrian accent, and it will be good. The lore unfortunately does not give us the fate of the dog with the snail-stained gob, or whether he became the King of Dogs for his brief time, or whether there passed a fashion or a passion for chewing on snails, or whether that was limited to a certain, very rarefied set of mutts, who trotted around with their mouths wide open as proof of their lineage. We’re guessing this is just what happened, though.

And was Europa wearing purple when Zeus, that randy old fellow, fell for her? I would say so. She was the King’s daughter, after all. Hello Princess Europa. Bye bye Phoenicia. Thanks for all the snails. The Tyrians used to collect them, and put them in pots, the snails – just after the rising of the Dog star – and boil them all up in saltwater, until they had their lovely liquor of Tyrian purple.

That’s the story about how a bunch of snails lured Western civilization out of the Fertile Crescent. Not very likely, is it? But it is etched in stone, so who are you to argue? Anyway, back in Europe a few thousand years pass with little incident, and this guy named Galileo Galilei Galilea* is looking up at the heavens through a tube, and what does he discover? Why Europa, of course, up there dancing around her fat friend Jupiter. And sure isn’t Jupiter just Zeus in yet another disguise, this time as the head of the Roman clan, who had stolen the purple torch from the Greeks? And so Galileo was burned at the stake for finding her out once again, a punishment meted by Zeus/Jupiter himself, no doubt, and afterwards there was another boring period for 400 years or so, at which point Europe suddenly remembered again where she was.

But this time when they looked they had some seriously advanced tubes, and what they saw at the other end was what looked to be an icy sphere. Europa, the revolving Ice Queen. And so back home on Earth her continent, recently united, cobbled together a space system for the sole purpose of sending out what they coined the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (giving us, in a very roundabout way, the acronym ‘JUICE’, though it looks to us that it should be JIME, but then of course that don’t jive). JUICE is the spaceship they plan to send to visit Europa in 2022, to break the ice in 2030. I suppose the reason they wanted their acronym to spell ‘juice’, is for what they think might lie beneath the ice – water. And what might be in that water? Life. The greatest juice of them all. And wouldn’t that be something? Europa, that tricky beast, never fails to surprise.

*To be sung to the tune of ‘The Happy Wanderer

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