Friday Fives – more about the Tap


Your favorite book?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  You know that already, though.  Let’s mix it up, then, and say ‘Lamb: the gospel of christ according to his best friend Biff’.  I really, really like this new author.  Well… new to me.

Your favorite movie?

Big Fish.  Re-reading over this, before I hit ‘publish’, maybe I should have said ‘Spinal Tap’.  There is a 2 page diatribe down there on how great the film is, how great the actors are, and how incredible it is that they wrote and scored and improvised the film.  But… you know that movie.  You may not know ‘Big Fish’.  It is perfect storytelling.  The cinematography is stunning.  Can you imagine if Tim Burton tried to make something joyful?  Just for once?  Well, with Big Fish, he did.  Don’t worry, it still has his wife.  (Shakes fist in the air).  Don’t just watch the movie, just go buy it.  Get it in blu-ray, too.  You really want the full cinematic experience, if you can.  Don’t have blu ray yet?  Buy it… just for this movie.

Your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?

 Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.  So good it is freaky!  Depp goes FULL Hunter Thompson in this role.  Not just window dressing, either.  HST was in full cooperation with the film… well… as cooperative as someone like HST could be.  Depp lived with Hunter for months before the filming.  They became fast and close friends.  So much so that when Hunter died, Depp paid for the whole ‘launching his ashes into space from a Gonzo fist cannon that was several stories high’.  Yeah, that isn’t a typo or urban legend.  It happened, and all thanks to Johnny.  They had a kinship all along as they are both from Kentucky.

 Your least favorite adaptation ever of anything to a movie?

Being a book guy, I am always supposed to say ‘the book was better’.  However, I have almost universally enjoyed adaptations of my favorite books into movies.  I like to see the creativity of filmmakers trying to capture such an ephemeral thing.  For example, the last ‘Alice in Wonderland’ movie with Johnny Depp.  Everyone shit on it.  There are good reasons to shit on it – it WAY over featured Johnny Depp, and of course since it was Burton the lead role went to his wife.  He does that EVERY FUCKING MOVIE.  Though my praise for Depp’s acting in ‘Fear & Loathing’ is effusive… he isn’t too good in this movie.  Too hammy, just chewing up scenery being all proud of himself for looking clever.  We can blame Burton for that, though.

But… I loved it (Fear & Loathing, that is).  Here is why – everyone has told that story in various forms of film.  It’s a classic.  The Burton one, though, is a totally different telling.  It takes a story never told… which is what happens if Alice goes back to that world as an adult.  What happens?  Who is there?  Did anything, or anyone, change?  Did it ever really happen?  I think that is cool and creative.  I haven’t seen the second one, but I will.  I waited on purpose.  Since it was reviewed to badly, I knew I could wait and just buy a bluray copy for $10.  I like those (as opposed to just watching it on Amazon) because you get all the featurettes and behind the scenes stuff.

 Your first ever novel/comic book/movie character crush?

  • Editors note: Long diatribe warning

The guys in Spinal Tap.  I mean, it is just some British actors playing dumb, right?  Not remotely!  The actors are all American, and improvised the entire movie, AND wrote AND performed those songs.  It went so well that the fake band accidentally became a real band.   They released albums and recorded new music and even toured.  If you look at all these starlets today, you see Spinal Tap was more real than any of them.  Think Rhianna writes her own songs?  Think she can play and instrument?  Think she actually sings in concert?  Spinal Tap wins on every level.

In fact, those guys went on to do more movies together, and the guys wrote an entirely new music act for ‘a Mighty Wind’, which is actually a great folk album.  Got to see them live, and they played both Spinal Tap songs and a Mighty Wind songs.  That movie (another Chris Guest project) was also entirely improvised.

Why do it?  They are crazy rich.  The bass player is 40% of the voices on the Simpsons.  He probably has 100 million in the bank, and he is schlepping around from city to city playing these silly and perfect songs from 30 years ago.

My favorite thing about these guys when they did press for Spinal Tap (not known as a classic when it was released, but a stupid and pointless low budget art film)… they only did it in character.  You never got to interview Chris Guest or Michael McKean or Harry Shearer.  You could only talk to Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel, and David St Hubbins.  Now… we know Chris Guest as a genius filmmaker, and Harry Shearer as most of the Simpsons.  Back then, in 1980?  A bunch of improve yahoos.  Michael McKean was only known for playing Lenny in Laverne & Shirley.

Can you imagine how they got that film financed?  “I need 5 million bucks to make a movie with these unproven and unknown actors.”  Who will compose the score?  Who is your screenwriter?  Who is going to actually record the songs they pretend to sing?  You know, like we did with the Monkeys.

Well… about that.  No script.  No musicians.  No songwriters.  No famous actors.  We are just going to throw it to some improve guys. There is no screenplay, they are just going to make up the dialogue as we film.  They will write the songs themselves, and play all the instruments in the recordings.  It’s about a fake British heavy metal band that is washed up.”

Has that ever been done before then?  Roy Scheider is quite famous for improving the line ‘you’re gonna need a bigger boat’ in Jaws.  Everyone looks to that moment to prove his genius.  One sentence.  BFD.  If it were Chris Guest’s crew, they would have made up all the dialogue, built the boat themselves… and fought a real fucking shark.

 I mean, I know it is a masterpiece now… but at the time I bet they got laughed out of Hollywood.  Now, hopefully, you recognize the great McKean from Better Call Saul.  Jesus, is there anything these guys can’t do?  Listen to ‘listen to the flower people’ and tell me that song is not as good or better than anything of that era.  Also, full disclosure… I finally got my band to learn ‘Big Bottom’.  We played it at our last gig.

*bonus news, the guy behind these films, Chris Guest (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, For your Approval, a Mighty Wind…) has a new film out soon.  It’s called ‘Mascots’, and will be on Netflix soon.  Like everything Larry David does, you can assume it will be all improvised, and wonderfully stupid.

Friday Fives – the Sofa King Edition

a bit late, butt worth it.  Literally took me several hours to write.  Sadly, I have run out of time and patience… so it will not exactly see 8 hours of editing.  Enjoy!



You just inherited a race horse, what do name him?

Believe it or not, we had a race horse.  His name was Double Heaven.  Well, we had a tenth of a racehorse.  Several years ago, a bunch of us horse friends got together under Bobbie (who I totally miss, and haven’t seen in years) and went in on a race horse together.  It was kinda what you might expect:  fun, rewarding, and wildly expensive.

Did you know it is supposed to be bad juju to bet on your own horse?  True story.  Was told that by a lot of folks, so we never bet on (or against) our own horse.  Pete Rose, I am looking in your direction on this one, pal!

 This is crazy. A quick google search found our horse, she has her own page.  How do I know that was our horse, there could have been thousands of horses with that name.  Answer is, that was our trainer.  BTW… Double Heaven > isn’t that just a beautiful name?  Even as an atheist, I see perfection in those words.  Good name for a band… OR… good nickname for boobies!

 My point being, I guess, that name is out.  So… how about Gonzo Hootie??

If you were an Alien observing humans for research, what would be something humans do that would be seen as completely absurd?

 How are we slaves to smaller, dumber animals.  As humans, we have conquered the ocean, mountains, and space.  We created flight!  We get our goddamn tv from outer fucking space.  Yet, we seem subservient to these things they call ‘dogs’.  We go to work all day every day… to get them food and treats.  The dogs don’t work.  They sit at home and we drive them around and feed them and then pick up their shit.  Even the queen of England doesn’t have someone pick up her shit.

 If we were truly the ‘master’, would they not work to bring us food?  Would they not feed us?  Wouldn’t they follow us around and pick up our shit?  Just sayin’.  Also, dear humans, your ‘master’ (the dog) licks anus while you are sleeping.  Not just his, either.

 Older, wiser people, what is some general life advice you would give to younger people?

this is where I am supposed to say something self deprecating like ‘I may be older, but certainly no wiser’, right?  Then, I should give some folky Twainism** like ‘the only thing I really know is that I know nothing’?  Horseshit!  I am older, and far wiser.  Age and time have taught me about patience and kindness.  I posses neither, but I admire them greatly!  See what I did there?  Lastly, like the Buddha, I do not claim to be wise.  Simply wiser than I was.  Heck, even you are that!

at 44, the most true thing I have learned is ‘you get what you pay for’.  However, that isn’t advice.  It is just an observation.  Best advice for a yute would be from my dad, who said

 you can play now, and pay later… or pay not and play later

He was talking about education in general, and grades in college in specific.  It applies to SO much, though.  His point being if you want to dick around and party and get nothing done now (play)… later in life you will pay.  Meaning, go ahead and drop off the earth and follow the Dead (or whatever) but you will be working at burger king when you are 40.  He was right.  You can spend your evening at the library re-writing term papers (didn’t really have PC computers for the average consumer in the early 90s.  Just the useless TRS80, or the arty and useless Macintosh… each cost more than college) OR…  you can blow it off and go to Brad’s party, instead.  Life is short, you wanna spend it in a library, nerd?  The answer is yes, yes you do. It’s library this Friday night, or working at Dairy Queen EVERY Friday night for $8 an hour for the next 40 years.  You can play now, and pay later.  Or… pay now and play later.

Behaviorists have studied this in society, it is called ‘delayed gratification’.  They found people with the capacity to do that (delay gratification, or pay now) are WAY more successful in life.  How do you test for something like that?  It’s fascinating.  You ask a kid ‘I can give you one oreo now if you would like.  OR… you can wait 2 hours and have 3 oreos.  In that choice, though, you get none now.  Obviously, for a very young child, it will be about 90% will choose the Oreo now.

Don’t be a hootie, I guess, is the point.

 Even better, funnier, and more relatable?  This scene in Colors, where Robert Duvall is teaching a very young Sean Pen that patience is the key to dealing with these gangs.

Here, just watch this (key dialogue begins at 34 seconds)


That story is the absolute perfect essence of my dad’s thoughts.  Of course, I didn’t know how right he was at the time.  My dad has since passed away, and I am still thankful for that paternal wisdom.  I spent an hour trying to explain it to you, even though you likely got it in 30 seconds.  I just wanted to make sure you got it, because it becomes more true every day.

 You travel back in time 3000 years, you can take 1 item. Which item do you choose to become the ruler of Earth?

 Easy – my guitar.  Doesn’t need electricity, comes with the hundreds of songs in my head, will dazzle the ladies, and (perhaps most importantly) allow me to keep myself entertained and occupied for endless hours.  You know this guy scores with the ladies.  Be a hootie, I guess, is my point

 In your will, what is something you could add to cause the most chaos?

 I don’t want to think about my death just yet.  And if I do, I want to think about the awesomeness people will fight to show how great I was.  WAIT… there it is.  Whomever makes the greatest homage to me (must be Eco-sustainable) gets all my… um… worldly… um… old Playboys?  Just kidding.  I don’t keep those. That would be creepy.  I mean, we would start with Hunter’s goodbye, the absolutely brilliant and utterly narcissistic and pointless gonzo cannonGonzo fist’ cannon that shot his ashes into the night sky.


Couple of footnotes to an already too long piece

 ** in writing this piece, I was made to remember our horse ‘Double Heaven’.  Remember, I do not write the questions, so it was a genuine surprise when I saw that.  I then realized ‘shit, those words are AMAZING together!’  Even a dummy (atheist with 2 divinities) like me knows that.  So, i then thought ‘shit, I must OWN those two words!’ because that is how we men handle these things.  I hopped over to Go Daddy to secure my loot and found it gone.  YET… not gone to a domain squatter… like those assholes who won’t sell me because I don’t have $10,000. 

No, it appears to be a gal who started a blog.  It’s even a WordPress blog.  So, though I am jealous, I am not petty.  Stop over and give her a read.  She is SUPER new to it, and only has a couple posts.  Give her some encouragement.  Funny thing is, if she is as new as I think she is, and had I not sat on my goddamn Friday Fives for a week and a half… i could have got that domain name.  Either way, Double Heaven gal… good luck in your new adventure!

Also, maybe if just one of you turd burglars was here 13 years ago to encourage me when I started I’d be writing books now, instead of managing in a call center, you vampire of joy!

*** note the time and place you just read this, crackers… because I did it again.  That word up there?  Twainism?  I just spilled out of my head.  I had my editor do some research on the etymology of that word.  Since I am my editor, I’ll give you the news directly; I just motherfucking invented that word… as I wrote it.  Let’s put this in perspective, shall we?  Were you there when the Wright Brothers took off?  Were you there when Kennedy got shot?  Well, this is probably bigger.  Unless you were here for this gem, or this one?

really, that word didn’t exist.  Check here, and even here.  I’d offer a third citation for proof, but frankly I am a little butt hurt you even required two.  I do not source things, America… I am the source of things.

lastly lastly let me say this.  I hope you know I am not this narcissistic judgemental asshole I write myself to be.  Literally, it is a character.  Obviously, I am a HUGE part of that character… but I think of it as a bit.  Sort of like Steven Colbert did with his last show.  Like him, I think, it is also a cathartic and fun piece of vanity I recommend everyone try.  Also, when making fun of literally everyone in the bible belt… it’s best not to use your real info.

yes, I am a passionate liberal asshole who thinks he knows what is best for everyone.  In person, though, I ain’t.  I’ll leave you alone, prolly.  I mean, just look at you!  See what I did there?  That was Lono, my online persona.  I am Kevin of Parker, you jackass!



Friday Fives – that was weird, wasn’t it?

Kermit's art 2015What moment made you think “fuck, I am weird!”?

Gosh, I don’t know. I am left handed, so that was a big part of it for two reasons. One is, my mind is wired differently. So, I have a pretty unique perspective on things. Second, everything is fucked up. You don’t fit in school desks, you can’t write in a binder, scissors don’t work. The world is a cruel place for a left handed kid. I was literally born to be anti-establishment.

 The next big piece of my education of weirdness was art, through Kermit. Kermit was a close childhood buddy who was into all the cool shit. In high school, he turned me on to: Beatles White Album, Hunter s Thompson, Henry Miller, MC Escher, and Salvador Dali.  He even turned me on to the graphic novelGregory‘. He was the skeleton key to my awakening away from the square world. He was also, not surprisingly, an amazing artist. See that painting up there? He did that. Sorry it’s not a better quality replication. I just used my cell phone. Think that one is nice? Mikey D has one that blows this out of the water!

If there was a king of all the weirdos, who might it be?

I gotta go with Salvador Dali.  He was weird, sure.  Many folks are.  However, he made it a living.  It wasn’t just who he was, but the who he was to all outside appearances.  I can’t think of anyone who was so successful and tickled about their weirdness than Dali.  Well, maybe Andy Warhol… but he didn’t make anything lasting.  He was more John Waters weird (as a marketing angle) than fruit loops.  Dali was fruit loops, baby.

I mean… just look at this photo.  This is a real photo.  There are no tricks, illusions, or photo manipulation.  They this photo took dozens of hours to get the right shot.

The difference between Dali and a madman is that Dali is not mad – S Dali.

What’s the smallest thing that seems to piss you off that no else gets bothered by?

Well, I have talked about the turn signal thing. No sense rehashing that one. Another thing that drives me super nuts is watching people vote actively against their own interests. I would argue no state (well, besides Louisiana) has been more impacted by climate change than Kansas. We used to get our hay from Kansas. It has been SO dry there that now all the hay comes all the way from Canada. Yet… Kansas votes super Republican at all times… even though the GOP denies climate change. Plus, the senators from Kansas and Oklahoma are both working extremely hard to eliminate FEMA. Yet, those two states draw more from FEMA than all other states (almost combined).

It’s the tornadoes. So, this state really really really needs FEMA. Because of climate change, Kansas (and OK) have record tornado years… ever year.  Each year it only gets worse, and climatologists say this will continue.  Yet… these folks vote GOP literally at their own peril. It is so sociologically impossible to understand that it has spawned a movement. It’s called ‘what’s the matter with Kansas’. It is a study (and then a book, and then a movie) as to why Kansas folk aggressively shoot themselves in the foot by voting GOP. Short answer, (and I am dead serious)… it is because of the gays. That is why they all vote Republican. They are afraid of gays. Seriously, watch the documentary.

The state, as we all know, depends on agriculture for everything. They are losing the corn. They can’t make enough hay anymore. That isn’t liberal propaganda. Our hay guy is as right wing as you would guess a hay guy is. It KILLS him to drive all the to Canada for hay to sell in Colorado. It won’t get better, either.

Colorado briefly suffered with this. In the Northern Plains is a town called Greeley. The area around this is VERY heavily dependent on water for agriculture. They had a Congresslady named Marilyn Musgrave. Her one and only concern was stopping the gays. From what? We don’t know, but she was going to stop them.

She let her district languish over and over again. She could have been getting water protection passed, bail out money, protections from farmers against bad crop loans. She did not of that. NOTHING. It took a few election cycles, but the good folks of Greeley finally realized keeping jobs and houses was more important that whether or not there was gays next door. Musgrave never did figure that out, and got bounced. She spent every ounce of political capital and resources to fight gay issues.

       So, that drives me crazy.

What is a common phrase that you absolutely hate hearing?

 “It is what it is.” I get it, and I have had to say it. Sadly, it just means ‘fuck it. Why bother? Why even try?

What’s the dumbest product that made a fortune?

I think we can all look back and agree it was the pet rock. Wait… and bottled water. You know that bottled water is just tap water, right? Plus, you are destroying the oceans with those empty bottles.

Hunter Thompson and Salvador Dali – prisoners of their own creations

I love Hunter Thompson, and Salvador Dali.  I LOT.  Like, I moved my life around for those two.  HST is a big part of why I moved to Colorado.  As for Dali, we honeymooned in Spain, partially so we could travel to Figueres to the Dali museum.  Both were worth it.  They are both huge influences and heroes to me.  Never, until recently, did I think of them together.  On a flight over the Pacific, I watched this cool documentary on Dali.  I would hyperlink it here, but I don’t remember the name of it, or the production company, or anything. To clarify, this doc had nothing to do with Hunter at all. In watching the doc, though, I had an epiphany.

On so many levels, Hunter S Thompson and Salvador Dali were the same person.

Boy, I better deliver on that one.  See, they were both creative geniuses.  They were both  HUGELY celebrated artists.  They were both starfuckers.  They were both trapped by their best creations… themselves.  They both peaked early, and spent the rest of their lives being haunted and pigeonholed by those creations.  Hunter talks about it openly below (jump ahead to the 11 minute mark, but watch the whole piece if you can.  It’s pretty good).

Basically, they had both peaked by 30.  They both did little, effectively, after that.  Hunter, for example, probably has 20 books to his name.  About 3*** were original creative works of any kind of consequence. The rest, and there are MANY, are collections of letters or short stories. (*** see below for aside on this)

Though I love just about all of Dali’s art, and most of Hunter’s full length books (remember, there are basically 3)… their best creations was themselves.  These two LOVED a spectacle.  They invented spectacle.  This was fun and awesome, likely, when they were young.  It became a prison of sorts as they aged.  You realize quickly, as Jimi Hendrix did, that people just want to see that character.  In the early days, Jimi did wild stuff to his equipment, just out of fun and passion.  Pete Townshend, too.  In time, though, people didn’t come to here Jimi play the blues.  They wanted stunts.  For Pete, they wanted to see a Strat smashed of they would have felt they never saw a full Who show.

Luckily, for all mentioned above (except Hendrix), they got to live long enough to see the futility of their creations come to haunt them.  I say ‘luckily’ not because I want them to suffer… but luckily that they had long enough lives to see the silliness of being such a one dimensional characters.

For both Dali, and Thompson… being themselves was their full time jobs.  Remember, Hunter lived to 2005, but hadn’t written anything at length of consequence since 1972.  Now, is that to say Hunter did dick all for 35 years but ride his own coattails?  Yeah, pretty much.

With Dali, we are lucky that we have a great body of work.  However, the documentary I watched strongly implied that he also didn’t do dick all after about 30.  Oh sure, you get the lobster telephone.  However, it isn’t exactly on par with the masterpiece ‘Persistence of Memory‘.  In fact, look at the irony; there is an expression used when people put in bare minimum effort and still get credit.  It’s called ‘phoning it in’.  Is there a better example in all of history than this?

While it isn’t my personal favorite piece, it is certainly Dali’s best known.  ‘Persistence of Memory‘ is most known for it’s iconic ‘soft watches’, though I always called them melting clocks.  Even the Simpson‘s have paid homage.  Aw heck, it looks like everyone has.

This isn’t meant to be critical in an anti-artistic sorta way.  It is more meant to be critical in a ‘huh, I never thought of it that way.  Maybe you got something there’.   Really, mostly I am just jealous.  These guys are SO impactful to my life.  I think I write this to help me better understand why. Proof of their impact on me?  My first tattoo will be a Ralph Steadman drawing of the great white rabbit from the Alice books.  I have been trimming my beard for years, but never ONCE the edges of my mustache, in hopes I can do this one day.

*** 3 books of HST.   There is Hells’ Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972.  That is it.  That is all you need to know about Hunter from start to finish.  Now, he has 4 books of compiled letters (I am also including ‘Better than Sex’ here) and about 10 of short story compilations.  In retrospect, that is kind of a week body of work.  However, those few books were SO good and SO influential.  Look at Lewis Carrol.  What else did he write besides Alice in Wonderland?  Nothing, really.  He was a preacher and a mathematician.  He wrote books on math.  His name isn’t even ‘Lewis Carroll’.  Carroll is a pseudonym he used for the Alice books because he was so embarrassed and mortified of what his religious math buddies would think of his silly childhood fantasy tales.

It occurs to me, years after I wrote this piece, it is now July 2019, that Hemingway was in the same boat.  Heck, he invented that boat and built it with his own hands (if you ask him, anyway).  As a young man, Hemingway was the shit, on every level  Served in both world wars, traveled the world, lived in Cuba, and bedded everyone on Earth.  In his later years…let’s say anything post 45… he is simply playing the part.  I have read a lot of Hemingway, and a lot about him.  Like Kerouac and HST, he was a god to me in my formative teen years.  Hemingway was the embodiment of ‘men want to be him, and women want be him’.  Later, though… its just kinda sad.  He lives his life as a sort of ‘greatest hits of how you perceive Ernest Hemingway to be.

Remember Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite?

I want to give Marlon Brando some credit on this front.   At no time did dude ever give a shit.  He was stone cold nuts!  See this?  Yeah, that was his own creation for his character.  Mostly out of fat laziness, as this is how he dressed on set.

Image result for marlon brando white face

Excuse me, Mr Steadman, but you are ruining my book

I found this book in the basement. Not sure why it was boxed up with old work stuff, but it was. I was VERY tickled to find this book. It is, in fact, probably my most treasured book, for reasons that will be revealed below.  This book pre-dates my listing of all the books I read.

After Hunter Thompson shot himself in 2005, there was a slew of books that came out, most of them great. All his good friends had a book in them, with their favorite Hunter Stories. His widow, Anita, wrote one. It’s ok. His best friend, though, was the sheriff of Aspen. Read that again. Hunter’s best friend was head cop in all of Aspen. He wrote a really terrific book of his favorite Hunter stories. It’s called ‘the Kitchen Diaries’. So, this book below (The Joke’s Over) was Ralph Steadman’s favorite Hunter stories. Ralph Steadman was Hunter’s artist. All of those amazing and iconic images from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas… that was all Ralph. They worked together for about 25 years.

Ralph is a wonderful man. When Hunter died, he paid off the Owl Farm property in Aspen for his widow (Anita).  This book is Ralph’s stories of his time with Hunter. He was in Denver doing a book tour and speaking engagement. Everybody who does Hunter Thompson related work comes to Denver. We are the closest metropolis to Aspen.  Over a few years, I went to many Hunter related events: books signings, films, speaking engagements, etc. Ralph’s event was super cool. There was a pre event at a local private club/bar/ tavern. Then, there was a bigger event at the Denver Post building downtown. For some reason, there was virtually no one at the pre-event. There was about ten people, all drinking. Hunter’s widow, Anita, was there, as was Hunter’s son, Juan.

I was just hanging out and chatting and drinking with all of them. It was amazing. I had brought my copy of the new Steadman book. It is a first edition hard back. If you were a book nerd like me, you would know how important that is. So, we are standing in a small circle while Ralph (Mr Steadman, to you) holds court. We are chatting and laughing like old pals – at least in my mind. After I had a few drinks in me, I sheepishly asked if he would sign my book. He smiled and took my book and opened it up to the title page, which is where books are always signed. The picture below is the two of them.  Hunter on the left and Ralph on the right.

Then… I watched him go all Ralph Steadman on it. He just started doodling in his super characteristic way. Then, he handed it back and started explaining it to me. He said that is wine and grapes. The creepy figure is Hunter, as detailed by his iconic cigarette holder. He was so nice and engaging. Can you believe this? I have a first edition hardback signed copy with original crazed art by the man himself. You ruined my book, Mr Steadman. God bless you, sir.

Allow me to explain what you are seeing.  The original page just had the title.  Not even the author’s name.  Everything else you see is Ralph’s ink drawing.

Ralph Steadman sketch 2007

Friday Fives – strange days indeed

1.  What’s a physical feature you wish you had?

being taller
2.  Who would be the absolute worst celebrity to be elected president?

Charlie Sheen.  You think he would be great because he is so forthright, and politics could use a straight shooter, right?  Wrong!  You are forgetting the guy is batshit crazy.  He has a huge stable of ex wives and children and still spends every free moment banging hookers and doing blow.  Nice way to live, if you are an 80’s comedy.

3.  If you were a Crayon, what would your name be?

flesh colored, you racist

4.  What are the craziest theory you have heard/come up with about dinosaurs going extinct?

that trex couldn’t masturbate because of his tiny, tiny hands.

5.  Who is the strangest person you’ve ever met?

ooh, that’s a doozy.  I wish I could tell you a great rock star story here, but I can’t.  I have met a LOT of rock stars, and they have all been exceedingly nice and approachable.

Ok, I let this sit for about 24 hours so I could answer this better.  The top was all filled out.  I have an answer for #5.  It is, of course, a Hunter Thompson story.  Years ago, we went to see Hunter speak in Boulder.  He sat on stage and drank whiskey and fielded questions from the audience, myself included.  About half way through the show, a student brought him ether.  it was a flask of some sort.  You pour a little bit of the liquid into a rag… and then put the rag up to your mouth and huff.  At least, that is what Hunter did.

Let’s pause here for a moment and talk about ether and what it does to you.  Even better, let’s use Hunter’s own words (from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas)

“The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we’d get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. Probably at the next gas station.”


So, he would take a huff about every ten minutes, and then let out this bizarre scream of joy and pain.  i swear, it was like a movie.  Oh, and this isn’t the strange part, yet.  Towards the end of the evening, when everyone was well liquored (myself included) there were some gals who asked some questions Hunter didn’t like.  They were asking why Hunter didn’t have ANY female lead characters in any of his books.  It’s a very valid, and accurate, question that had never occurred to me.

Well, Hunter didn’t like these questions at all.  He didn’t like having his integrity and ability questioned by 19 year olds… even though it was a very thoughtful question.  So, he stood up and then threw his microphone down on the ground as hard as he could.  He kept doing this until it shattered.  He would then wait until the girl sat down, and then had someone bring out a new mike.  At this time, he continued on with the Q&A as if none of this had happened.

Well, the girls weren’t done.  God bless, they were a few deep.  So, the next girl asked if Hunter was a misogynist, or is that just a character in his writing.  Again, a very thoughtful question.  Again, Hunter no likey.  Exact same thing happened again – 3 times in total.  At that point the poor moderator had to ask the crowd to refrain from asking feminist questions.  “Not because we want to censor you, but because we are out of microphones”.

So, yeah… that was an experience.  I have to say, it was pretty much everything you might expect in a Hunter Thompson experience… including the fact that he was a few hours late.

In closing, Hunter got arrested that night, but not for huffing ether.  He got arrested for attacking someone with a fire extinguisher.

Remembering Hunter: When I die

This weekend I went to see a screening of a new Hunter Thompson documentary. Well, sorta. Actually, it is a documentary about the strange and troublesome erection of his huge funeral monument… a 150 Gonzo Fist statue mounted with cannons that fire explosives, fireworks, and Hunter’s ashes on his property over Woody Creek.

Filmmaker Wayne Ewing had been filming Aspen neighbor Hunter Thompson for the last twenty years. They were working on a film which came out a couple of years ago called Breakfast with Hunter. It is a terrific and strange piece of work, as anything involving Hunter would surely be. If you are a big Hunter fan, that film is worth ordering, but it is not what we are here to discuss.

When Hunter killed himself last February, he left behind some typical insanity inanity: one of which is his funeral request to have his ashes shot over Woody Creek from his property off of a cannon resembling the Gonzo fist rising 150 feet over the valley. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Nonetheless, they pulled it off. With actor and HST pal Johnny Depp footing the considerable bill to make this happen (millions)… we get to follow. Film maker Wayne Ewing did what he had been doing for the last 20 years, followed the antics of the Owl Farm with his camera. What results is a 60 minute documentary on the logistics of getting this tribute off the ground. It starts at the beginning, meeting with townsfolk to get the go ahead. What follows are fire concerns, lightning concerns, aircraft concerns (Hunter lived in the flight path to Aspen airport, 3 miles away), and other various problems. Hint, it helps the logistics process that Hunter’s best friend is the sheriff.

I thought it was fascinating, but I am simply too involved in the whole Hunter thing. I can not say if the film is for you (only available to direct order from Ewing’s website) I can say the viewing was a really great experience. It was being showed at the Denver Starz Film Festival. I got to see the film in a small theater, with beer served… and guest speakers. At the end of the film, as I damn near shit myself with joy, film maker Wayne Ewing walks in with Hunter’s widow, Anita. They spoke to us for sometime, and then fielded questions from the audience. It was pretty terrific. Anita explained to us after the film that the film will be traveling the country on the ‘film festival circuit’.

I should also mention a work in progress we got to watch called ‘buy the ticket, take the ride’, whose director was also there. More about that later, surely.