Wednesday, March 02, 2005

... Two lessons in one day

Another time I went to the farm I survived two lessons in one day

As usual Lazlo was at the gate showing his teeth but to get him to act like a puppy all you had to do was say his name just like Edward the mina bird. Hunter was on the porch going at the table with an ice pick swearing up a storm.. I asked him what he was trying to do and he told me he was trying to put a hole on the table so he could set up a big table sized umbrella as a sun screen. I suggested that I get the drill and hole saw which got me the green bird shit look (this is the look someone gives you when you have bird shit or your shoulder or 3 heads). After a few more seconds of chipping and swearing he threw the ice pick into the deck and went inside. He emerged with the 12guage shotgun stood on the table placed the muzzle of the shot gun a few inches away from the table and BOOOOOM blew a nice hole in the table. He grabbed the umbrella opened it up and placed it in the hole in the that he had just created. The umbrella came to rest on top of the table he had blown a hole in the porch decking as well
Lesson #3 use the right tool for the right job!!!!!

Later that day he drove me home Hunter drove this hopped up blue Volvo sedan..with a glass of wild turkey in one hand and Dunhill cigarette holder in the other He'd drive the back road to Aspen at about 60+ or so depending how he was feeling now this road was designed for people to do 45 max (on one side of the road there was a mountain and on the other side was a cliff. Arlo Guthrie the motorcycle song)instead of following a lane around a corner he'd follow the fall of the road on the center line and honk as he went around the corner to warn any on coming fellow motorists.

Lesson #4 Always wear your seatbelt!!!!!

Thanx again Hunter
Big hug to Juan, Anita, Jen, Will, Sandy.... Et al

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Juan on Hunter

Juan on Hunter

I was writing about Juan and Jen when I came across this in my archive.

This was from Juan in 1996 ... Thank you to Ed Bastian for putting it on the net

Reflections on a Childhood in Madness
By Juan Thompson
Presented at the Tribute to Hunter S. Thompson evening in Louisville, Kentucky on December 12, 1996.

A week ago I received this opportunity to pay tribute to my father at this event. I was first very excited, as you can imagine. It is not every child who has the chance to honor his father in their lifetimes, or even in solitude. I am very fortunate. Thank you, Ron Whitehead, for putting this event together, and thank you all for coming.

A few days later, I started to get nervous. How on earth am I going to honor him? What can I say? I decided to start with the question I am most often asked, which is, "what was it like to have Hunter Thompson as your father?"

On one level, it is an empty question. It is like being anyone's son, it is unique. I have nothing to compare it to, I have one father and one childhood. What I can tell you, however, is what I learn from my father, what I respect and admire in him.

First of all, he is impossible to categorize or define. He is original. More than anyone I can think of, he crosses boundaries, He embodies more contradictions than any 10 ordinary people. He is both a madman and southern gentleman, a prophet and a hooligan, an idealist and a cynic. He thrives on disruption, unpredictability and thwarting expectation, yet is bound to social conventions.

Years ago he chastised me for not minding my manners and shaking someone's hand at the proper time, yet he will set off a roll of 5000 firecrackers in his best friend's bedroom at 3am. I respect and admire, and sometimes fear, the way he lives moment to moment.

I appreciate his power and courage. My father is nothing if not powerful. He is like an extremely volatile chemical that illuminates with flashes of fire and thunder the lives of those who come in contact with him. He is not afraid, as I think most of us are, to make an impression. He makes us wake up and take notice. We may not like what we see, I don't think he cares at all what people LIKE - the important thing is that we wake up and take notice.

I have learned that the surface truth is rarely the real truth, and as a result I have become cynical about the motivations of corporations, politicians, and law enforcement. Above all, he makes me think and pay attention. He demands in everything that he does that you set aside your habits of perception and pay attention to what is happening right now, and deal with it. That's where the fun and excitement are, in not knowing what's going to happen.

I have learned to appreciate words. Whatever else brings you all here, I hope that you all recognize my father's genius for using the english language. He is an artist, which to me means he is a magician with words, he makes them express his vision of the world in a way that cannot be attained by study and effort and even practice, though he has done all these things. It is more than mechanical mastery, it is expressing the living essence of a scene or a person directly. A few years ago he sent me a three volume set of the Webster's 3rd International Dictionary of the English Language, bound in brown leather. That summed up, I think, the values he wished to convey to me. Though I have not inherited his magic, I have inherited a love of words and books and fine writing.

I learned to appreciate the beauty of guns and the thrill of shooting them. Anyone who has shot a large calibre pistol or a shotgun and felt the rush of so much raw power in your hand knows what I mean. I've spent many nights with Hunter cleaning shotguns and oiling pistols. I was shooting a .22 rifle by the age of 10, and at my engagement party a few years ago I shot with a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with double O buckshot, dead center, a propane cannister attached to a can of gasoline which made a spectacular fireball in the night outside Owl Farm. I was proud, and I know he was, too.

I have learned to appreciate family and loyalty to one's friends. I have never seen a community closer than the one is Aspen that I grew up in and that Hunter helped to create and hold together. These people are serious about friendship, and whatever their flaws, inherent in being human, they protect each other. When there is legal trouble within or without, they come together and pool resources and support. When someone is going through difficult times, there are suddenly more invitations to dinner, to watch the football games, subtle invitations to talk and unload. If someone is done wrong by an outsider, then the offender finds himself on a collective blacklist.

I have learned to appreciate driving fast and following the fall line through a curve. I know the pleasure of driving a red 1973 chrysler convertible with the top down on a sunny fall day. I love the adrenaline, focus and vitality that comes from riding a motorcyle at 80 mph on a winding country road. These things I learned from Hunter.

I learned that some cops lie. This was a brutal and profoundly disturbing realization: Those in control are not necessarily trustworthy. More importantly, authority is not necessarily to be obeyed, and certainly not feared. There is always a way to challenge authority, either in the courtroom or in the media or in the voting booth. He has done all of them many times, and usually successfully. In other words, he believes that it is possible to change a situation for the better, even in the face of entrenched authority.

So what am I saying? I am proud of this man. I respect and admire his vitality, his courage, his insight, his perverse resistance to security and predictability, his deliberate disregard for propriety, his ability to make me see and think differently. Ultimately, I love and respect him because he really LIVES, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, he LIVES his life.

Lesson # 2 From Hunter:
"L... I... V... E... live live LIVE!!!!!" Maude from Harold and Maude


Friday, February 25, 2005

Birth survivor problems

whoo hoo .. I’m 41 today I find my self living in Las Vegas along way from my kid and broke. With the death of my close friends father I have been thinking a lot about his influence on me.
In the 70’s and 80’s the Roaring Fork valley was a time and a place unto it’s self and I feel very privileged to have grown up there. My parents got a divorce when I was 8 and my mom and brother moved there from Tenafly New Jersey and ….
“For a kid it was a kind of paradise… I wasn’t playing Indian I was living it!!!!” Little Bigman…
The valley is and was a fertile place but unless farmed it mostly grows pines and scrub. In that valley I got to know some of the most amazing minds of this or any other century again not really being anyone special getting to know them as regular people will always occupy a special place in my life.

Hunter S Thompson in my mind will always be number 1 among all those, especially due to my best friend growing up Juan
(beating out Phillip Morrison by a long shot who is the co holder on the paten for the atomic bomb who I got to know at the design confrence) ( …yeah I know who cares about my lists)

He influenced my life in so many ways ….
one incident at the farm stands out in my mind.
Juan was away at CRMS I had gone up there to help him out with stuff. At the open gate was Lazlo (he was a good dog). I went up the porch into the house where hunter was in the big chair cleaning a pistol (I guess a fire arm is obligatory in any Hunter story) He was having trouble with the McIntosh amp and asked me to take a look at it. While I was taking a look at it he asked me an opinion question…. With my head in the amp and knowing he was wielding a firearm I gave him a wishey-washey answer (how’s that for a poor survival choice) he gently placed the gun on the round table next to the ash tray on the table stood up and went into a tirade about …taking an opinion…. keeping an opinion and sticking to it regardless of the consequences. The wisdom was intersperse sparsely between comments like you little spineless bastard pissant motherfucker.
Every time I have failed to take this advice it has been bad news.

Thank you Hunter …
#1 on the list of things you gave me:
Be a man … Have an opinion and be willing to die for it!!!!!

This has been very cathartic for me even if no one reads it more hugs to Juan, Anita, Will Jen and Sandy!!!

More to follow if any one is interested

To : Juan, Anita, Will, Jen, Sandy.... et al

I will miss him ... BIG HUG for Juan, Jen, Willam and Anita… who will never be able to fill the hole left in there lives by the man in spite of the myth and legend attached to his life..

I am a long time friend of Juan we went to the Aspen Community School together I have been using the blogs to try to send a message of love to him and the family but I know he is totally swamped because of the media attention at Owl farm and we need to let him know that we care for Him, Anita and the whole family in this time of tragedy while respecting his privacy

Let's see if we can get the word out ...
He was first the man….
He became the myth and legend
To me he was several people.
He was my best friend’s dad although he always called his dad Hunter
(At Juan’s wedding he said to a friend about me “Look there’s another little bastard I raised that turned out OK”)
He was Hunter S. Thompson retiring shy southerner who loved guns and his freedom
He was the Dr. Gonzo who we all know who would be in your face and try to kill you if you attempted to try to take away his guns, drugs, freedom, privacy and the god given right to go into an explosive tirade about it.

To be such a person required him to have a unique emotional support structure. These people now need our support, love and understanding in this time of grief.

R.I.P Hunter S. Tsompson
Bradley Laboe