Simon Vozick-Levinson
May 08, 2008 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Yes, PEHDTSCKJMBA. It’s pronounced “pesskah-jumbah,” roughly, and, as Tom Waits explains in the transfixing press-conference clip below, it’s an acronym for the cities he’ll be playing on this summer’s “Glitter and Doom” tour: Phoenix, El Paso, Houston, Dallas…  PEHDTSCKJMBA can also stand for “People Envy Happiness; Dogs, Though, Sense Courage, Knowing Jubilation Means Better Assets,” Waits informs us.
Really, you should just watch the whole thing as soon as possible. (Make positively sure to stay through the end — it’s only 4 minutes long.) Waits deconstructs the meet-the-press ritual with his typical oddball panache, leading to a Q&A session that’s about as surreal as any of Dylan’s in Don’t Look Back.

So what do you think of this bit of performance art? Does it make you any more interested in Waits’ tour? And perhaps most importantly, as a friend of mine asked after seeing this clip, which is stranger: This stunt or the fact that Scarlett Johansson is actually releasing an album of Waits covers in a couple weeks? PEHDTSCKJMBA!

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