Hospicio de Huerfanos 1

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Released: 2005
Label: None, online release

Release notes

Released online for Christmas 2005 by John in response to Vanderslice's release of a live show for the holidays. 2 The title, Hospicio de Huerfanos, comes from the metadata in both mp3s. Both songs are outtakes from earlier albums and therefore likely precede the 2005 release date.

Table of contents

  1. Cut Off Their Thumbs #1
  2. Deserters

Cut Off Their Thumbs #1 3 4 5 6

We sprawl out on the bed
Or we lean against the wall
Down amongst the dregs
Where the yellow spiders crawl
The telephone is broken
And the drapes have all been closed
Hands up who doesn't know exactly
Where this story goes

I'm gonna kill everybody in this room
I'm gonna kill everybody in this room

How has it come to this
Well, I haven't got a clue
You looking up at me
And us two glowering down at you
Wind shakes the palm trees
With an escalating fury
Face the judge
Or take your chances with the jury

I'm gonna kill everybody in this room
I'm gonna kill everybody in this room

Let's have a little music
On this hazy afternoon
Let's hope the tension in here
Finds its resolution soon
Radio on the window sill
Old white moon above
God watches over children
And he cares for fools in love 7

I'm gonna kill everybody in this room
I'm gonna kill everybody in this room

Deserters 8 9

"Two, three, four."

The neighbors are cloning themselves
I found their cocoons in the garbage
And we'll either stay high forever or crash
In and out or two
Sleeping the sleep of the blessed
Picking through trash cans with you

The guy on TV is a prophet
You just have to look in his eyes
And we'll either turn our lives over to Christ
Or we'll just drift off
Trying to better ourselves
Giving up after one or two tries

The high school's a front for Yakuza 10
Everyone, everyone knows it
And we will all shortly be richer than God
If we'll just hold on
As long as we play all our cards right
As long as nobody here blows it
I've drawn up a map of Rialto 11
The holding tanks full for the night
I heard all about it on Citizens' Band 12
It's a brand new day
We'll be awake until Thursday
The future's disarmingly bright


  1. In Spanish, "Hospicio de Huérfanos" translates to "Hospice for Orphans" or "Orphanage" (the accent was left out of John's metadata). Many organizations with similar names exist. 

  2. John writes:

    My boy JV is offering a live show for free download, and how can a fellow traveller not feel moved by such holiday cheer? Here are two songs from the vaults; a live recording of the first has been circulating for a while, but I don't think anybody's ever heard the other. Neither of them are particularly festive, unless you favor a certain kind of party, in which case, God bless us every one. They're both favorites of mine; "Deserters," technically a "demo" though the word has always given me fits, is the song that sparked the We Shall All Be Healed album, and has a number of images that are sort of touchstones for me. Both work best if you play 'em real loud.

    Cut Off Their Thumbs

    So there you go - yuletide greetings to all; I hope this small gift in some way indicates how happy you've all made me this year, and I'll see you in the spring!

    The Mountain Goats, December 13, 2005: Merry Merry

  3. "Sometimes you write things, and you say — oh, what's that, there's a, in Fight Club... when Ed Norton during his first time beating somebody up — really just beats somebody up very, very badly, just makes him unrecognizably ugly... he finishes this horrible beating and his friend (who is in fact himself) says, 'Whoa, where'd you go, buddy?' That's sort of what I said to myself after I wrote this song called Cut Off Their Thumbs." — Kaufman Center Ecstatic Music Fest, New York, March 24, 2012

    "It's a love song, of sorts." — Go! Rehearsal Studios, Room 4, Carrboro, April 20, 2004.

    In a review of ten songs on Last Plane to Jakarta, John includes Cut Off Your Thumbs #1 as song eight, writing, "I try to avoid talking about my own stuff on Last Plane to Jakarta but I am in a bad mood tonight, and this song, a new one in which more blood gets shed than in any preceding Mountain Goats song, suits the general timbre of my day. It is unpleasant and mean-spirited. It makes me feel bad about myself in all the right ways. I apologize for even bringing it up."

    Last Plane to Jakarta. 01/12/2003 - Crash. Retrieved on December 6, 2013. 

  4. Cut Off Their Thumbs #1 is part of the informal series of Biblical references and informal series of outtakes

  5. Cut Off Your Thumbs #1 was originally intended to be part of the Bedside Recordings Volume 1.2 split with John Vanderslice, but was removed when he discovered he could only put one track on the record. Go! Rehearsal Studios, Room 4, Carrboro, April 20, 2004. 

  6. Plausibly a reference to Judges 1:7 – 8, which describes the defeat of the Caananite king Adoni-Bezek by the Israelites: "When Adoni-bezek fled, they pursued him, seized him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. Adoni-bezek said, 'Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. God has repaid me for what I have done.' They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there." Judges 1:7 – 8, Holman Christian Standard Bible, retrieved December 6, 2013. 

  7. From an often-modified saying that God watches over children and fools, made more famous in the form, "God watches over fools, children, and Americans", frequently misattributed to Otto von Bismarck and perhaps actually being popularized by José Correia da Serra. Multiple versions predate or correspond with Bismarck, for example, in the Editor's Drawer of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 14, 1857, Mary Russell Mitford's 1830 Stories of American Life, or even earlier, in French, Queen Marguerite's 1708 Contes et Nouvelles. 

  8. Deserters is part of the informal series of Biblical references and informal series of outtakes

  9. Deserters is the song that caused the inception of We Shall All Be Healed and is thus an outtake from that album — see John's post above for more information. 

  10. Yakuza are members of one of the large Japanese organized crime syndicates, famous for involvement in drug trafficking, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, gambling, and other similar activities. They are traditionally associated with full-body tattoos. 

  11. Rialto is a suburb of San Bernardino in Southern California. 

  12. Citizens' Band, often abbreviated to CB, is an easy-to-use, publicly accessible radio service frequently employed by truck drivers.