TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2007


Babbs Babbs Babbs,
I don't know what to do.
Because I am seventeen and already i feel a little disillusioned.
and i thought.
because it is the 21st century, and it all seems so empty suhr.
and then i thought
and so, babbs darling, i am emailing you.
from chicago.
and i wanted to have like some sort of love-in/ acid test in a park.
minus acid because i would be arrested quicker than you can say anything.
so i don't even know where to begin.
please help, suhr.


I suggest Briana do what John Perry Barlow did in N.Y. City. John would get a boom box and 10-15 friends and go to a busy street corner turn on the music and break into dance. How many people can you get to stop and dance with you?. Great fun and you don't need acid or drugs, just some really good music. Then after a few minutes they would move to a new spot and start all over.
If you got rhythm,you got to dance with'en.
-- Pil



Hi, my name is Danyelle Dixon. I am a Senior at Dowagiac Union High School in Dowagiac, Michigan. I did two different term papers on Ken Kesey so I learned many things about The Merry Pranksters. If you could email me back with a couple of Senior prank ideas that would be very helpful.

Danyelle Dixon and 146 other hopefulls

By Heck and By Golly, I didn't know how to answer her, not wanting to come up with something that would be too nauseating. This is what I finally wrote:

1. Pick up all the trash in and around the school and the parking lot and leave the black plastic bags in the principal's parking space.

2. Give flowers to all the teachers and janitors and secretaries with a note telling them how much you appreciate everything they've done in the past four years.

payback time! big time! They won't know what to make of it.

Anybody else got any great ideas, email me.

-- kapnken

--------------------------------- Ideas coming in -----------------

1. I would emphasize the importance of "harm nobody". No mean-spirited pranks, or vandalism. -- Geo

2. use balloons, balloons, balloons. Ten each, times 147= 1470. Where to put them is up to Danyelle. Maybe the teachers lounge. -- Phil

3. Stick all the windshield wipers in the parking lot straight up in the air.


For my senior prank I took a letter from NORML with petition attached for legalization in Ohio, I took an old letter from the principle cut his name and signature out and taped to the NORML lettter. I then made a thousand copies and posted them all over the school. It was funny to watch him try and find them all.

-- Ryan


It's the principal of the thing, Ryan.

-- KapnKen

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2007

Hi Ken-
As regards Danyelle's Dixon's request for IDEAS for a SENIOR PRANK, here is one I performed
recently and haven't told you about:

On my way home circa 5pm I happened to pass by a large crowd of people surrounding Senator John McCain's office building at 16th and Missouri. I did not even know this Senator had his offices there, and I knew nothing about any planned demonstrations, so it was a pleasant surprise to see so many people waving big signs emblazoned "HONK FOR PEACE" and other stuff. I was hot and tired, but the whole jolly scene kind of woke me up, so I honked and drove around the block for a second pass.

There was one guy in a Revolutionary War uniform playing a parade drum, so being a drummer myself, I answered his jazz with my own car horn in an improvised military tattoo, and
purdy soon we had a fine call-and-response in action. The crowd was digging the excelerated noise, and I was having fun, so 'round and 'round the block I circled.

The traffic was slow, congested rush-hour, and most of the republican SUV and BMV drivers were scowling in disgust at the HONKERS FOR PEACE. More and more of them whipped out their mobile phones, and you could tell by their faces the kind of things they were saying. They were in a hurry to get out of this treacle of slow traffic and protest. Again and again I saw these huge, expensive drivers start to go for their horns, and then stop themselves:

"Me-e-e-e-e-e?????- HONK for PEACE? THAT's what they'd all THINK- No Way, Ho-Zay!"
Darned if my car didn't stall. Traffic came to a dead stop and more and more cars and trucks
started to jam 16th street, blocking the street further and further south, HONKing and HONKing
for whoever or whatever to get out of their way. The din quickly got louder and louder and LOUDER- the drivers toward the back were now so far from the corner they could not see the HONK FOR PEACE signs, but HONK they did, and did.

I did everything to get it going. Some protesters even jumped out into the street,
and started pushing my car, clowning and laughing, as the anti-protesters, exasperated,
gave in to their anger and HONKED and HONKED despite themselves!

FOOTNOTE: There were at least half-a-dozen news cameras there attached to an assortment
of various"News" vans, but there was no mention of this demonstration on any TV news that I could find!

These camera operators seemed determined to get it all recorded for posterity-
why they did not broadcast any of the miles of footage they took, one can only wonder.  
The whole adventure only cost me $160 for a ticket (failing to yield), and worth every penny.

Still a-Honking to High Heaven- Ali Bob

MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2007

8:00 AM

Gotta speak to two more high school English classes, Ken Kesey the topic. This will make a total of eight classroom talks I've given in the past two weeks. Maybe I oughta videotape one and then give the tape to the other classes to watch, allow me to sleep in, get caught up on my dreamscapes. Too late now. Pleasant Hill High School, here I come.


Here we go, another month, June Brides in the spotlight, summertime bearing down, long days, how do we occupy the hours betwixt supper and dark? Shakespeare wrote a play. Fellini made a movie. The ol' Kapn roams the acres, pulling up a new noxious weed that's trying to take over the property. Across the road a coyote rips the throat out of the neighbor's goat. Yonder comes the state trapper. Reassures us it's not a cougar as first thought. That's a relief. One more day of talking to high school English classes. Wears me out. Can't imagine doing it every day, all day. All hail the teachers!

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007

Another Day, another two classes of channeling Kesey by having Hector ask him the questions.

What inspired you to write?

Faulkner. And Melville. And Poe and Yates and the Oregon weather and my dad.

Any advice to a young individual who wants to know what life really is

Keep your head up, your heart happy, and your home heated.

What came next for you?

After Two successful novels and ten time two successful fantasies I did find myself wondering, "What to prove next?" I've shown I can write, then shown I can repeat and better the first showing. Now,"What do I prove?" The answer seems to be, "Prove nothing."

Did you ever get there? I know, it's the journey, not the destination, right?

"When people ask what my best work is, it's the bus. Those books made it possible for the bus to become.

Why the bus more than the books?

"I thought you ought to be living your art, rather than stepping back and describing it. The bus is a metaphor that's instantly comprehensible. Every kid understands it. It's like John Ford`s `Stagecoach' with John Wayne in the driver's seat just like Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never never land, or, as Cassady said, 'No one was ever happy angry.'

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2007

Here's one of the best ideas made real I've come across in a while. It's a solar powered flashlight that an ex-marine named Mark Bent came up with to extend the hand of light to those in places where there is no electricity. He's given thousands of them away through various groups that are backing him and now he is selling them on the BoGoLight.com website for 25 bucks plus six bucks shipping; you get one flashlight, he sends another to a relief agency of your choice (or you choose one listed on the website). Most of the lights go to Africa but you can also send one to a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For more info go to:


I love your site Mr. Babbs, which I just stumbled upon! Many years ago in school I happened across a book that I was only able to glance through at the time. It was a Merry Pranksters book, and I remember it being a scrapbook or some such thing. It was filled with stories and drawings and doodlings, that sort of thing. Is this familiar to you? I have not been able to find it. Any information would be appreciated !

Lena, that book does not ring a bell in my brain but that's no surprise to those in the know. Maybe a skypilot has heard of it or seen it and will write in with all the news that fits the bill. Come on Skypilots, wrack your brains or rack your pool balls.



Lena, everyone has said the same thing: must be Kesey's Garage Sale. It's a hard book to find, now. Maybe Powells or Amazon or Tsunami Books has it. You can check online. The book has an important major work by Kesey: OVER THE BORDER, a screenplay with drawings by Paul Foster. It is all about the Kesey and Prankster sojurn in Mexico when Kesey was on the run from the FBI, having jumped bail on a pot conviction. It would make a great movie but, unfortunately, Kesey is dead in Hollywood, after winning a breach of contract suit against Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz over the screenplay for the movie of Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey having agreed to write the screenply, agreeing on what he'd be paid, then writing and delivering the screenply, then the moviemakers without saying anything, getting someone else to write the screenplay they actually used.

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2007

I knew the cost of postage stamps was going up but it wan't until I went to the post office yesterday to do my weekly skypilotclub mailing that I found out the cost of sending packages has skyrocketed, which is in keeping with skypilot terminology. It means my marginal business acumen has taken a nosedive and isn't coming up with any pieces of eight, or other money making ploys, which also means I'm either going to have to start charging for shipping and handling or else deep six the whole fershuglinger business. I'll ponder on it.

-- kapnken

On the international front, a skypilot in Connecticut has a daughter who is teaching English in Russia. The daughter is also a rock climber and on one of her forays into Russian rockdom, she met a young man and in the course of conversation he revealed he had some knowledge of subjects about pranksters and such and wanted to learn more.

So mom emailed me and asked for CDs and DVDs she could send to her daughter and I obliged with a nice sampling. Here's the latest email from mom to me:


Kapn--here is what is happening in Russia--my daughter is so excited! Here's her latest:

Vasil has arranged to have "A Film Festival" at a restaurant in Moscow near Chistie Prudy (where a lot of poignant scenes in Master and Margarita took place). His friend opened a new restaurant recently--it's a great place--with the old Soviet theme (decor) and old Russian folk music and such. On Sunday night, we hope to project some clips from the DVDs Ken Babbs sent. Vasil has about 10 friends who are interested in coming and I about 4--so it will be quite the event. I hope it's ok we show them publicly? Anyway, I think it will be fun.


Our foot is in the door. When is a door not a door? When it is ajar. To swing it further open I sent an AxFiddle Gitmo DVD to Connecticut so it can join the Russian fray. But first, they want to know who I am so I sent this:

Ken Babbs. Ohio born and Oregon old cud. Marine Corpsed and Pranksterized, nine kids all university of oregon marticulated cept for last one still there, onetime farmer, allatime mower, reciter of verbiage, multiplier of anchorage, wispy in the morne, dipsy in the eve, still flying high, high as a skypilot can fly.

Stay attuned.


I spoke to two high school English classes yesterday and it wasn't a coincidence that my wife is the teacher. They are reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and my job was to fill them in with some stories about Kesey, the man, the author, the wizard, the guru, the good friend.

I channeled Kesey so I could answer their questions with his actual words.

Can you tell us about your name?

No one ever calls me Kenny, but you can call me Ken E. Kesey, for my middle name is Elton, from my Grandpa Smith, my mother's father, that was his first name.

Okay, so lay it on us, tell us what it's all about.

Violently opposing things only strengthens whatever it is you are opposed to.
Our main job is not to be moved to rage by their secret workings. If they get us into the same rage they are in, we've joined them.

So, how do we avoid their clever traps?

We can't let hate make us hate, or fury make us furious. We gotta convince these neanderthals that the world has been offered a chance to change.

Can the few beat the evil in society?

Yes, because, "We can count the number of seeds in an apple but not the number of apples in a seed."

That's inscrutable. Can you elaborate?

I could but I'll follow my dad's advice: don't try to unscrew the unscrutable.

SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2007


Two of the local characters, preparing for action: the ol' Kapn and M'sieu M. Hagen, cinematographer.

Kenny Reed, the drummer, and Michael Morningsun on the skitchety skoo.

John Babbs on vocals and George Walker on drum and vocals.

Oblata, having taken the form of a human. David Rhodes on sax.

Eric Richardson on bass.

These are all the Guantanmo players. I also read a written work called, The Only Time, which has this included:

This being the only time in my lifetime
that my lifetime will occur
I think I will fill it up with meaningfuls
and languish later by the pool
A nap, perhaps, to let the sediment settle,
the sentiment one can willingly embrace.
Great men, before their greatest endeavours,
took a nap: Napolean before Waterloo,
the desert fox before El Alamein
little lord flaunteroy before school.
but did Neal ever nap?
Yes, a nano nap inside the rap
a billionth of a nap
in the blink of an eye
was all it took to assess the guy,
was he a sage or a sap
trying to get some sleep
with a curve ahead
so set up for that
"When people ask what my best work is,
it's the bus," Kesey said.
"A metaphor that every kid understands,
like John Ford's `Stagecoach'
with John Wayne in the driver's
seat just like Cowboy Neal."
at the wheel of the bus
to never never land,
or, as Cassady said,
"Eyeball kicks are among
the world's greatest . . .

Well, you get the idea. And of course there is a DVD of both the reading and the Guantanamo musical sketch.