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It's Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's 76th birthday.

July 18th, 2013 by

take the ride

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson would have been 76 today.

In his honor, as is tradition, here are birthday words from Mr. Drew McKinney:

Has it been a year already? Of course it has, I can tell by simply gazing at a mirror. The hairline has, impossibly, receded even further back on my skull in a grand attempt to meet my neck. What little hair remains is a bit grayer, the creases in my face are a bit deeper, and the joints in my body make a bit more noise. And so much for aging gracefully. They lied to us about that part but what are we going to do about it? Those liars are already dead or dying and the energy we have left is better spent thinking about our own inevitable demise.

This time last year I was in the sticks of Georgia, sweltering in near triple-digit heat, watching the wells evaporate dry and wondering when it would all come to a fiery end as we inched our way to glorious spontaneous combustion. That fire never came though, we got through it and somehow between then and now I made my back to my favorite city, that fair maiden of the West, my old lover, San Francisco. The hellfire of Georgia has been replaced with a blanket of cold mist and I sit with a mug of green tea, bundled up in more layers than I have bones, contemplating the merits of powering up the space heater. Whatever happened to the July of my childhood?

318 Parnassus Avenue

318 Parnassus

San Francisco is an amazing city. It is somehow both inspiring and unpleasant, a place where the rich get richer and the dreams of peasants get crushed under thousand-dollar designer boots. The working class can no longer afford to live here and must be shuttled in by crowded bus or train to beg for pennies or the dregs of someone's Soy Latte. And yet... we all scratch and claw and bite and curse to stay here so there must be something about it.

The Good Doctor spent a fair amount of time here. His residence at 318 Parnassus isn't that far from where I am now and rumor has it that if you look closely you can still make out where the bullet holes were patched. From drunk stumbling in Haight Ashbury to drunk dancing in the Marina to drunk drinking South Of Market, Hunter had this town wired. He was equally at home writing in the offices of Rolling Stone or "managing" a gritty sex theater in the Tenderloin or partying with Hells Angels in Potrero Hill. It's said that Hunter knew the location of every motel ice machine in the city, the better to make his famous Chivas snowcones with, and I choose to believe it. The stories those ice machines must have.

Oh to have been in San Francisco during that time and with that man. I can totally imagine what it was like... roaring down Geary Boulevard to Point Lobos Avenue in a car with the top down, cold beers comfortably nestled between thighs, the remnants of a joint dangling from the ashtray, rock music blaring into the night. The ocean would come into view and Hunter would smile, flick his eyes to make sure I was cool with this and then he would floor the accelerator and we would be airborne, soaring through the air silent and weightless, flying off the cliff until we landed with a crashing thud on the beach below. He'd drain his beer and toss it into the waves, grab another from the six-pack and pop it open. "See," he would say, "nothing to worry about."

Happy Birthday, Doc.

take the ride

HST in the car via Aspen Post. 318 Parnassus photo via psychedelicsister.blogspot.com. Thank you, Drew. Thank you, Hunter.

It's Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's 75th birthday.

July 18th, 2012 by

Hunter S. Thompson, circa 1960

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson would have been 75 today.

In his honor, here are birthday words from Mr. Drew McKinney:

THIS WILL IDENTIFY HUNTER THOMPSONHunter Stockton Thompson was born seventy-five years ago in Louisville, Kentucky.

I wasn’t there that day but I have no doubt that it was miserable -- the air hot, humid, and thick with fifty different species of mosquitoes. There could be no other way to welcome the cranky Good Doctor to the planet that would trap him for nearly seventy years before he took it upon himself to leave and explore the cosmos.

But we’re not here to dredge up painful memories or mourn the passing of a great man, no, we’re here to celebrate a Rocket that burned powerful and bright and ignited the world with his white phosphorus afterglow.

I’m sitting on a front porch in rural Georgia and I can’t help but think that this is what it must have been like when Hunter was born. It’s not even eleven o’clock in the morning and the temperature is already at an oppressive ninety-seven degrees, sure to rise another ten or twelve or fifteen degrees more before the day is done. The humidity is intolerable and sits on my chest like a drunken Lady Wrestler, chafing the skin and causing the hair to grow inward and down where it will fester and poison the blood.

Bourbon is the only thing that saves in times like these. It’s too fucking hot for bourbon, yet here I sit, gulping Wild Turkey 101 like a fish gulps water. I have to, though, because of Tradition. It’s My Way and the only way I know so I keep at it, year after year, drinking a bottle of The Dirty Bird to celebrate the birthdate of that mean S.O.B. Thompson. In the years following his death my Tradition often tastes like a bitter, jagged pill that cuts all the way to the core before tearing a new asshole as it makes its way out and Beyond. But still, we do what we must and we suck it up and keep our mouths shut.

I don’t even know if the Good Doctor drank bourbon on a regular basis. Many accounts I’ve read of him suggest that he had a penchant for colorful girly drinks that contained rum and umbrellas and pieces of fruit. And so what? The man was from Kentucky -- bourbon country if there ever was one, and in my mind that makes him a bourbon drinker by default.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and a bottle of Wild TurkeyA birthday in America is traditionally celebrated with friends and gifts and cake but I fantasize that Hunter would have no part of that, preferring instead to pour a glass of liquor and maybe go outside and shoot something or blow some shit up and finish the day with a nice cut of beef or perhaps the heart of a bear.

I’m close to that, really close. I’m sipping straight from the bottle because I can’t stand dirtying a glass when the liquor comes in its own, and I have a .22 Long Rifle instead of heavy-duty firepower that Thompson was known for, and I don’t have any beef or hearts immediately available but I do have a ham sandwich. Sit, sip, shoot, nibble. The sitting and sipping and nibbling are easy but the shooting is something I’m not entirely used to, being a pacifist sissy City Boy and all that. So instead of taking potshots at the squirrels and foxes and lizards that seem to rule this part of the country I go for pine trees. Bang, take that you useless fucker! As far as trees go I find pine to be utterly worthless and have zero problems pumping them full of hot lead. The Doc would be proud of the War Cry that escapes from my throat every time I’m actually able to hit one, my aim being one of my truly horrible qualities that shouldn’t be discussed while in Polite Company.

And so we sit and eat ham and drink bourbon and shoot trees. Pretty tame compared to what Hunter would get himself up to but it’s what I have so Carpe Diem and all that. Happy Birthday, you weird Fucker, thanks for the inspiration and good times. We’ll do this again next year.

Young HST photo via wallofpaul.com. HST press badge photo via thethoughtexperiment.wordpress.com. HST + Wild Turkey via nomeatballs.wordpress.com. Thank you, Drew. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Hunter.

"Brian, what's the history of Cinco De Mayo?" [What Day Is It?]

May 5th, 2011 by

From those gleeful merchants of brevity at 5-Second Films comes this important piece of historical context:

Further:

De nada.

(Gracias to Nick and to 5SF.)

Celebrate Towel Day with a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

May 25th, 2010 by
 A earth analog of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

A possible Earth analog for a PGGB.

Towel Day commemorates the work and wisdom of Douglas Adams, author/catalyst of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and other wonderful things.

Now, in celebration of Towel Day, let's take a look at one of Adams' finest achievements. Along with discovering the answer to the ultimate question of life and by all accounts being a right-nice human being, Adams created what is now know to be the greatest drink of all time: the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Here's what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colorless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

It says that the effect of drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.

The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards.

The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself.

Take the juice from one bottle of the Ol' Janx Spirit, it says.

Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V -- Oh that Santraginean seawater, it says. Oh, those Santraginean fish!

Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzine is lost).

Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it in memory of all those happy Hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia.

Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hyper-mint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic.

Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian suns deep into the heart of the drink.

Sprinkle Zamphour.

Add an olive.

Drink... but... very carefully.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica.

I already know what you're going ask. In a user-sourced interview with slashdot.org, Adams regretfully had this to say:

The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
by phossie

What is the origin of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, and how would you make one on Earth?

I need to know.

[Douglas Adams]: Unfortunately there are a number of environmental and weapons treaties and laws of physics which prevent one being mixed on Earth. Sorry.

Perhaps needless to say, that hasn't stopped earthlings from doing their best to recreate a PGGB here on Earth, whether by movie --

-- or by beverage. There is a particular grouping of possible PGGB recipes to be found at Wikibooks. Should you attempt any of these recipes, The Never Company cannot be held responsible for your rehabilitation.

DON'T PANIC.To further your towel-related joy, here are links to Flickr tags and YouTube videos via boingboing.

Remember, enjoy a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster with as much care as possible. Know where your towel is, and good luck.

(Earth analog PGGB photo via nerdcore.de.)