Archive for the ‘Bad news’ Category

Curtis Imrie goes west

January 23, 2017
Curtis Imrie (left) and Hal Walter in a photo lifted from one of Hal's columns at Colorado Central magazine.

Curtis Imrie (left) and Hal Walter in a photo lifted from one of Hal’s columns at Colorado Central magazine.

Just when the Republic needs every man jack it can muster, one of the true wild ones, Curtis Imrie, has left us.

Longtime readers of the DogS(h)ite are familiar with my old friend Hal Walter; we’ve known each other for the better part of quite some time. But Curtis is the guy who introduced Hal to the manly Western art of pack-burro racing, and they were friends, rivals and friendly rivals for more than three decades.

As soon as Hal posts a proper obit, I’ll provide a link. Meantime, the long and the short of it is that Curtis Imrie was (among many other things) an actor, and while he played other roles — including that of the murdered Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Mike Rust — the part he was born to play was that of Curtis Imrie.

A scion of privilege (among his forebears was Robert S. Brookings, founder of the Institute for Government Research, which would become the Brookings Institution), Curtis drove a Triumph motorcycle across Europe and the USS Enterprise across the galaxy, and nearly got killed by a wandering 18-wheeler near the National Western Stock Show complex (where he finally did die almost exactly a dozen years later, reportedly of a heart attack, at age 70).

He worked in front of the mic at Salida’s KHEN-FM on Tuesday evenings; worked both in front of the camera and behind it on a movie that seemed to have no ending (and now never will); won the World Championship Pack-Burro Race at Fairplay three times; and ran quixotic campaigns for Congress from his ranch in the Upper Arkansas watershed nearly as often as he ran for the top of Mosquito Pass. That race, he never won.

Curtis was an honest-to-God, sure-enough character in a world of ciphers, devoted to democracy, donkeys and drama, a spiritual cousin to Ed Abbey, Doug Peacock, Ken Kesey, Thomas McGuane and the Pilgrim from Kris Kristofferson’s “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”:

He’s a walkin’ contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction

Taking ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

He’s gone back home now. Peace and comfort to the friends and family he left behind.

• Update: KHEN will host a live memorial tribute to Curtis beginning at 5 p.m. Salida time on Tuesday, Jan. 24. You can stream it at their website if you’re so inclined.

Something wicked this way comes

January 19, 2017

• Editor’s note: What follows was intended to be a rambling kickoff to a Counter-Inaugural Podcast at Radio Free Dogpatch, but my sidekick Hal Walter developed a bad case of previous commitments, so I’m laying it on you old-school instead. Tomorrow it will be radio silence from yours truly here and on Twitter. But there will be an open-mic post suitable for commentary, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts on what this particular changing of the guard means for you, and for the rest of us. Finally, a tip of the carny’s boater to Ray Bradbury for the headline. It’s a pity — or is it? — that he didn’t live to see Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show come to life.

We're all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE, TRYING TO FIND WORDS to describe how I feel about what’s going to be happening on Friday — and afterward — in Washington, D.C.

I’ve watched this changing of the guard since before I was eligible to vote, and it rarely goes well for progressives.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon was preparing to take an oath of office he had already violated by undermining the Paris peace talks, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged a three-day counter-inaugural that proved quite the bash, both literally and figuratively.

Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman brought a revolutionary-theater sideshow to the circus, proposing to inaugurate their own president, a 145-pound hog named Pigasus, with predictable results. The Left immediately set about eating itself alive — Splitters! — rocks, bottles, horseshit and punches were thrown, cops and protesters alike took a beating, 119 people got a tour of the hoosegow, and as is traditional in such matters, both sides claimed victory.

Nixon, of course, claimed the White House. Twice. You may recall how that turned out.

I found it all fascinating, from a safe distance, and when I became eligible to vote in time for the 1972 elections, I tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party, the proper name for the improper Yippies. Never happen, said the county clerk in Bibleburg, and I had to settle for signing up as an “independent.” But Hunter S. Thompson was actually in attendance at the ’69 inaugural, and he didn’t exactly come away with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

Recounting the experience for The Boston Globe in February 1969, Thompson wrote: “My first idea was to load up on LSD and cover the Inauguration that way, but the possibilities were ominous: a scene that bad could only be compounded to the realm of mega-horrors by something as powerful as acid.”

As Thompson watched the deal go down during what he called “a king-hell bummer” and “that wretched weekend,” he saw “a new meanness on both sides … and no more humor.”

“Suddenly I felt cold, and vaguely defeated,” he wrote. “More than eight years ago, in San Francisco, I had stayed up all night to watch the election returns … and when Nixon went down I felt like a winner.

“Now, on this Monday night in 1969, President Nixon was being honored with no less than six Inaugural Balls. I brooded on this for a while, then decided I would go over to the Hilton, later on, and punch somebody. Almost anybody would do … but hopefully I could find a police chief from Nashville or some other mean geek. In the meantime, there was nothing to do but go back to the hotel and watch the news on TV … maybe something funny, like film clips of the bastinado.”

• • •

Neither Hunter S. Thompson nor Dick Nixon are with us this time around, but another pair of Sixties relics you may have thought were likewise long gone — LSD and psilocybin — are making something of a comeback as potential treatments for whatever bad scene may be unfolding on the backside of your forehead (or in front of it).

In December, The New York Times reported on a couple of studies that showed “clinically significant reductions” in both anxiety and depression in cancer patients who took synthetic psilocybin.

The studies, which the Times called “the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin,” found the beneficial effects persisted for months.

One patient, who had just completed treatment for stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, described what he called “an epiphany.”

“I’m not anxious about cancer anymore,” he said. “I’m not anxious about dying.”

Another, whose treatment for acute myeloid leukemia left him with graft-versus-host disease, said the experience left him with “a greater sense of peace with what might come.”

“I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial,” he added.

And on January 14, The Atlantic ran a Q&A with Ayelet Waldman, whose new book “A Really Good Day” describes her microdosing with LSD to self-correct what she described as “a pretty significant depression.”

She had tried the traditional remedies served up by the medical-industrial complex — antidepressants, ADHD drugs, SSRIs, you name it — but a couple drops of diluted and highly illegal L-S-Dizzy is what did the trick for her.

Said Waldman: “I felt happier or at least not as profoundly depressed almost immediately the very first day I took it.”

Funniest thing, hey? About 10 years after the good Doctor Thompson was mulling over that Nixon inaugural, a friend and I offered an acid-soaked homage to his fear-and-loathing tour of Las Vegas. But we didn’t have his stamina, and when a jai-alai match at the old MGM Grand started to look like a “Star Wars” shootout we got the fuck out of there at a very high speed indeed, driving all the way back to Alamosa — the Brain Damage Express, via Kaibab and Page, the Four Corners and the terrifying Wolf Creek Pass, with the usual horrible weather and without the enhancements that were still a few years down the road.

But we sure as shit weren’t depressed. We were simply seeing a whole lot of things we’d rather not have and thought a case of beer, a long night’s drive and a plate of his mom’s enchiladas might mellow us out.

Forty years later I can make my own enchiladas but I’m not so sure about the acid. I still have my copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” but I was never much at chemistry.

• • •

All trips, both good and bad, come to an end, sooner or later. And in May, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will break down the big top in May for the final time after 146 years.

According to The New York Times, Feld Entertainment, the producer of the circus, cited rising operating costs and falling ticket sales, a condition that worsened after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey dropped elephants from its show last year.

CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press that moving the show by rail, providing a traveling school for performers’ children and other expenses from a bygone era made carrying on a losing proposition.

“It’s a different model … we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price,” he said.

And let’s not forget that old devil competition. There’s another, bigger circus coming to town, with a permanent base of operations in Washington, D.C., the financial support of the State, and free worldwide access via social media. Plus elephants, too!

The Greatest Show On Earth is now an angry orange clown with a Twitter account. Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry. …

Greatest Hits of 2016, Part 5: From balls to nuts

December 31, 2016

• Editor’s note: As the year winds down, I’m taking a page from the mainstream-media playbook and reprinting a handful of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Today’s final finger was published in December, the last issue of 2016.

The gang views with alarm in cinematic fashion.

The gang views with alarm in cinematic fashion.

Tour de Trump, v2.0:
Does this president
make our heads look fat?

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

“Stuck In the Middle,” by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan

By Patrick O’Grady

The day after the election a young reader emailed to say he hoped I would have a safe trip to New Zealand, adding, “With any luck we will not hear from you or the Clinton’s ever again.”

I feel confident calling him “young” because we olds know the difference between the plural and the possessive. Public school vs. home school, don’t you know.

As to whether he’s a “reader,” that’s an educated guess. I suppose his mom could have read him my column down in the basement, if he had one. A mom, I mean. Trailers don’t have basements.

But I digress.

Anyway, I’m not moving to New Zealand. Who wants a job herding hobbits? (Apologies to Hurben.) I’ll stay here, brush the fur on my own toes, and wait for the next wizard to pop round.

Mars is out, too. I’ve seen “The Martian” since that last column and I am definitely not into farming with my own poo. Better to sell it to some publisher and spend the proceeds at the Whole Paycheck, where everything is grown in unicorn milk and honey.

>> Click here to read the entire column.

R.I.P., Carrie Fisher

December 27, 2016

Damn, this has been a merciless year.

Everyone thinks “Princess Leia” when Carrie Fisher’s name comes up, but I got more of a bang out of her as Marie in “When Harry Met Sally.” Here’s another clip.

Sure, Meg Ryan was a knockout, but I always got the impression that Carrie would have been a whole lot more fun to hang out with. I mean, just check out this “What I’ve Learned” piece Esquire ran on her back in the day.

Now she and Bruno Kirby are both gone, and far too soon. 2016, get out of my face already.

Rest day

November 21, 2016
The Irish should not be entrusted with any technology more advanced than the hoe and wheelbarrow.

The Irish should not be entrusted with any technology more advanced than the hoe and wheelbarrow.

Looks like I picked a good day to ignore the news in favor of fiddling with the dark corners of GarageBand (yeah, take cover, you might have to endure another podcast before much longer).

The homepage of The New York Times looks like the mounts of all Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse shat on it in a driving rain, which oddly enough is what we’re experiencing at the moment here in Duke City. The rain, not the horseshit, though that can be had aplenty too, if I am not otherwise occupied, which I am.

Even Charles P. Pierce is starting to make me nervous. When the headline is “Saddened, Angry, Sickened, Defeated,” it’s a solid tip that the guffaws will be few and far between.

Me, I’m just glad I don’t have any pressing deadlines. It was tough to bring the funny for the final Bicycle Retailer of 2016, and while delving into the mysteries of GarageBand is giving me a headache, it is in a largely unused corner of what remains of my brain.

 

Leon Russell, R.I.P.

November 13, 2016
Leon's walk along the high wire is over.

Leon’s walk along the high wire is over.

We interrupt our discussion of the decline and fall in order to tip the Mad Dog top hat to Leon Russell, who like Leonard Cohen has gone west.

I heard him first as half of Asylum Choir, with guitarist Marc Benno. Then there was the Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour with Joe Cocker, the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison, et al. Saw him perform once at Folsom Field in Boulder, and wow, what a show. Dude never really stopped playing — he would chat to the audience between songs, tinkling the ivories.

Here’s one of his most popular tunes, and one of my personal favorites. Damn, that Next World Orchestra just keeps getting bigger and better.

 

 

Leonard Cohen goes west

November 10, 2016
I'm not saying alive, I'm not saying dead.

I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.

Gassho, bhikkhu. 

• A final interview with The New Yorker.

• From Lion’s Roar: “Leonard Cohen burns, and we burn with him.”

• His obit in The New York Times.

Oh

November 9, 2016

shit-11092016

Good news and bad news

October 4, 2016
Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

First, the good news: Julia Moskin at The New York Times serves up a modern recipe for chicken pot pie that looks absolutely scrumptious.

The bad news, also from the NYT: Whatever you weigh right this minute, you’re only gonna get fatter as 2016 and its various holiday seasons waddle to their belt-loosening denouement. I blame Obama. Also, the chicken pot pie.

The worse news: “Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, takes about five months to come off,” says professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University’s business school.

Does that include the election? Oh, God, no. I need some comfort food. And I think we all know what it might be. …

Red moon rising

July 20, 2016

I’ve been striving mightily not to watch as the GOP continues eating itself alive — it will get around to its big orange asshole tomorrow — but Lord, is it ever a tough ol’ slog.

All my usual news feeds are awash in pomposity, prevarication and psychosis. Not even the Tour could cheer me up today, and I took little pleasure in being proved correct when I predicted early on that Tejay van Gardenhose would enjoy his usual jour sans. Even an old, blind dog can unearth a moldy Milk-Bone now and then.

Tonight’s speakers list is a veritable Murderers’ Row of mendacity: Koch-sucker Scott Walker, Marco 3P0, Texas Ted Cruz the Gucci Shitkicker, veep-in-waiting Mike “Deadeyes” Tuppence, and Newt and Callista Gingrich, who probably have never starred in an adult movie titled “Mr. Toad Boinks a Robot,” no matter what you’ve heard about the uptick in porn consumption during the GOP confab in Cleveland, City of Light, City of Magic.

A red moon rising indeed. I think I’ll go crawl under my bed now.