THE READERS' PAGE
Took this picture while orbiting last summer. I'm sure you've orbited as much as any man, but personally I never get over the wonder of being up there. Notice the lights going on as the shadow of night engulfs the Mediterranean
and the Great Sahara Desert. Man, I think I'll take a spin right now and watch it get dark over the Hawaiian volcanos.
...the creature ate them one by one
yet two years from their native sun
only three remained on that ship
the alien, a cat, and capn skyp...
-- from "Rip-off of 'Alien,'"
Beyond the canal
(where huge fish do olympic leaps)
beyond the scrub oaks
that line the Halifax River here
I can see hotels and condos along Daytona's beach
from my back porchlette
Now there is a constant cat purr
rumbling gutteral vibrating across the river
feel it through the floor
up from the jelly muck
under the cement slab I live on
Now an then a kitty gets pissed
like kitties do
and roars like a lion from hell's gate
I don't know why the devil has lions at his gate
but they are ten times as big as regular lions
and when they roar you damn know it
because it's Bike Week, man
It's Bike Week
-- Airy Ace
Thanks for the memories. First Dead show, 3/26/68. Neal gone six weeks now. Fast forward to 6/26/68. Chu Lai, RVN, and already something doesn't seem right, other than the fact that a handful of California crazies are now sitting in bunkers around this giant air base. What are these aircraft of all configurations painted flat black coming and going in the night? And who are these creatures wearing military garb with no insignia whispering all the orders?
We hear that Wink (late of Berkeley, turned us on to Country Joe and the 25) and the now Sgt.Frank (late of LA, turned us on to his local connect and Disneyland) are pulling safety pins off of bombs and rockets at night at the end of the runway. We make our way in small groups to the arming shack, and Frank shows us the old pre-rolleds dipped in JP5 routine. Not sure if it was the local variety or the kerosene, but it made the job of stemming the red tide more amusing.
It was on one of these extremely turbineated, Valkyrie shrieking, after-burner scorching nights, I learned that as well as guarding the Corp's supply of beer, aircraft, and ammo, we had a more mundane charge. Not 100 meters from our palapa there, Ford Philco had a working plant right in between the runways. (I found this just now as I entered the name in a search. http://www.namebase.org/sources/eP.html. The plot ever thickens.) As it turned out, they were flying in Korean nationals to put together radios and televisions at this plant. We would rather have been guarding poppy farms, but then we were not setting our own itineraries in those days.
Of course, in the end, it all came back to bite them in their collective butt. Some of the mortal flesh that was not expended came back to Paducah, Goshen., and Wilsonville, generated their spawn, and embraced the very vodka and political fall-de-rall that THEY feared the most. Sound familiar?
I forgot the dude's name but in ' 69 he wuz the highest ranking enlisted man in the U.S. Army and at the time he was stationed at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. I had a GS- 4 Recreational Aide job at Rort Fucker ( uh, Ah meansis, Foht Rucker) and all the Special Services people I wuz workin' wid had worked wid dah dude in 'Nam.
Anyways, Congress jerked his chain and had him testify 'cause [being head of Special Services in 'Nam] he had gotten a piece of every pop, beer, milkshake, pizza, movie, etc, etc, ever served to the forces in S.E. asia.
He gitz befoe Congress and they starts asking him queerchuns and he sez," I worked mah azz off as an enlisted man to get in dis position and then I have to sit here and have you question whether my intentions were the best for my troops!!!!" The congressmen stopped asking questions and begged his forgiveness.
The stuff I saw at Special Services at Rucker was unbelievable. Remember "Self Service."
When Hurley Alvin Smith died in the Tet Offensive in March of ' 68, I would have enlisted on the day of his funeral if I thought it mattered and that we were in it to win.
King Nutria's poem reminded me of a time in my Southeast Alabama childhood when everyday began with a healthy dose of gambling.
Every morning guys would gather around the Co-Cola machine and everybody put 50 cents or a dollar in the kitty. 35 or 40 years ago this could add up to some Real Money, like $5 or $10. Then everyone who was in on the bet bought Cokes out of the Coke machine. Proper decorum dictated that each person would turn their Coke bottle over and cover the bottom of the bottle with the palm of their hand until each person had purchased their Coke from the machine. As soon as everyone had bought their drink, the palms came off the bottoms of the Coke bottles and the argument began: "Whose bottle came from FURTHUR away?" Generally, "Fairbanks, Alaska" would always win the jackpot but there was usually always a pretty good excuse to start an argument about distance especially when one guy had a bottle labled "Columbus, Georgia" and another had "Panama City, Florida".
Hey, we're talking about Real Money here!
-- best, rr
Dearest Captain Mo Shlapptain Schmolioli D-Taptin,
Have we heard? The latest , 'Terrorist Found Hiding Under Bed Next to the Corpse of a Commie Red.'
Tis true I tell ya, so I dug my family bunker extra deep, and used 200 mile an hour duct tape on my windows. I stopped using sugar in this white boys coffee for fear of biological warfare, yes sir-re-George. Who cares that my local community has no funding for road repair and are eliminating the local police force due to lack of federal and state funds since the war started. I'm an American with a hamburger in my teeth and a cold frothy flavorless beer to wash it down, and I say blow those a-rab-is to starlight moon base one bravo niner baby doll. I care more about the NFL than I do politics and my wife knows who every celebrity has married in the last twenty years. I don,t bother voting any longer because I can't place bets on it and my son Jimmie has joined the Crypts and we never see him hardly at all anymore. Even when we do we can't understand a word he says, as if we would listen while Survivor was on, and who in the world knows what a phat bling bling is anyway? He sure is on edge lately and seems to have had a cold for months with all that sniffling and scratching at the nose. So when things get a little confusing I head to the sparkling wonders of the prefabricated hamburger wonderlands lining the previously beautiful spaces of land now paved as far as the eye can see for some instantaneously gratifying fatty food. I need not leave my 12 cylinder hemispherical baja-brigader 4-wheel drive mountain of metal, I simply pull up to a service window for my food. After which I do the same at a local drive through liquor store. I love my tempestuos vacuity and anyone who threatens this should be blown to hell.
Sincerely a facetious thaumaturge,
-- Commander CrAsH, Skypilot #88
.. pardon me... is this the SKYPILOTLESBIANJUICY.COM website..??
Oh, ahh, no.. maybe not. Sorry...
Ah, well.. while I'm here, as they say, maybe the Preem Pasha Pilot is prognosticating nearby.. could you inform him, prayse?
Well, now! [rubs palms vigorously]... Once again, we MEET, Dartangion! Ha! I am BEAM-R.. (in)famous deflower-er of Chinese nubile maidens, attendee of uncountable Hairy Dead Spectacles, Champion of the Weak, Down-trodden and overall Goofy, Prognosticator of the Prestidigitatious, and foosball-maestro ex-traordinaire... En Garde!!
Yes, my friend.. we meet again! Last time I introduced my annoying self was after Sir Keesey (heck, JAGGER got one..) blew this Burb, heading off like, yes, Mr Natch, to somewhere, most likely, just a little bit Cooler...
That freaky SOB... I was in McArthur Court in '81, and I've been WAITING to tell you.. guys.. someone.. this story since then:
After winging Westward on a 1979 Suzuki 1000, and hitting shows in Salt Lake City (the white-shirted Mormons all got up and split during Space).. and two in Portland, I slid the big bike down Rte 5 to Eugene, fabled Land O' Winken, Blinken and Prank, and arrived in the sunny August afternoon outside McArthur Court gymnasium. Many flapjacks bounding about already, and I parked the breathless Soozook in front of a tiny ticket window, and took my place in line. Five minutes later I peered through the thick glass at what appeared to be my third grade reading teacher, complete with the obligatory horn-rims.
"Yessir.." she intoned, "What will it be?"
Harummph! I mused.. what'll it be.. "Yeah, how 'bout a FRONT ROW CENTER!" giggle giggle snort.
Miss O' Grady barely lifted an eyebrow.. simply slid a single pink ticket out the glass.
Yep. there it was... seat 12, ROW A.. front row center. Ahhh.. Be careful what you ask for..
Okay! Time to get PREPPED, and time to drop some of that lovely Portland Blot that had been circulating up north at that time. THEN, along the way, of course, some insidious interloper flits past me with a DROPPER, and well, when in ROME, I figure... aaaannndddd -> -> ->
....and there was only one little problem: What to do with The PACK?? I mean, when yer traveling cross-country by your lonesome, three-thousand miles from Momma, and everything you need for survival is bungeeeed to the sun-cracked, black vinyl back, open for any Tom, Dick, or Angel to help themselves to... well sir, and you've got to think security. So I walks around with this giant 45-lb red thing strapped on me, hunked over, rain gear and tools and clutch cables and travellers cheques and everything.. On top of that, being in the true epicenter of BE YOUARSELF land.. I decided not to wear the "normal" tie-dye and instead put on a western-style button-down shirt that I thought was, for some reason, more ..ME. Don't ask.. I can't tell ya. Just seemd the thing to DO. Silly looking, straight-assed shirt I'd gotten for Christmas two years before. Wasn't even, like, my favorite or anything, Simply square.
Soon, people were, like, noticing me. My discomfort was spiraling. I seemed to be magnetizing attention... and it wasn't the right flavor. I remember a decidedly cool guy and his lady ambling past me gracefully in cool Indian cotton, tinkly bells and pachooli, and my eyeballs were already like ping pongs. I barely heard the lovely dame exclaim, "oh! The poor thing!" as she walked past.. and who knows if it was real or memorex, at that point. Didna' matter.. the pebble was cast into the pool.. and my trip was flavored: I was 3000 miles from home.. WHACKED on more LSD than i should have been doing in that situation.. and things had gotten past me. I was alone and OUT OF PLACE.
But, hell, at least I had a front row ticket, and at least I had enough experience in such matters to try to just go with it, even though the SUUURRRGGE was carrying me forward faster than I could keep up with. A case of TOO much in TOO unusual a situation.. me, East Coast suburban school-teacher's kid.. IN with the BIG boys, the psychedelic veterans. I met a Hell's Angel who shook my hand like a corpse.. he looked seriously junked-up.. near death, like a cadaver not informed of his own demise yet. Nearby, some jugglers were flipping pins at each other and going on about TRUE LOVE (yay!).. versus.. EVIL FORCES (booo!). People were meditating, laughing, singing, lighting candles, praying, and downing beers inside the graveyard across the drive. What the fuck was I DOOING there? I didn't know anyone.. and I figured I'd better try to get inside the venue and chill out. The Pressure was On, and I had to find a haven.
At the front door was some commotion. I squinted to try and focus. Seems there was some guy with a bullhorn, reading out of a... bible. By-passers were haranguing the guy, but he didn't stop.. simply kept screeching about Hell and Damnation and What-have-you. I sidled up to the guy. Maybe he needed my help. Three-thousand bone-jarring miles on a hot-rod 1000 Suzuki will do that sort of thing to you... I was fully convinced that Jesus had been with me the whole way, and maybe I needed to TESTIFY.
But as soon as I addressed the Preacher, he whirled around at me and locked eyeballs.
"DON'T go inside!" he hissed. "That's the DEVIL in there!"
I was a bit stunned. Perhaps my Christian Brother was a Nut. Maybe i should set him on the True Path..
"Hey, there, friend.." I says all comrade-like, giving him my best Sunday-morning disarming grin, "uhh, like, what DE-Nomin-ATION are you with?"
He looks at me suspiciously.
"We don't belong to any denomination."
Hmm. "Well, I mean, like, what does it SAY on the sign in front of your church"?
He stared with a hollow, unfriendly look. "We don't have a sign."
"Well, what does it SAY in the front of your BOOK, there?" and to his dismay, I gently pulled his bible away from him and started looking for the stamp on the insIde saying, maybe, "Property of the Cult of Ephesian Evangelists, Springfield Chapter" or something.
Soon two other bible toters came scurrying up and started hissing their warnings at me: it's the devil's Playpen inside, they're just waiting for you to get inside so they can steal your soul, flee now, for your life.. can't youe see? ..that sort of uplifting message, palmed out to a road-weary 23 year-old New York kid with a head full of Owsely.
Suddenly I felt gentle hands grasping my Christmas shirt and dragging me backwards into line. "Yeah, come on, sport.. lets go inside and see the devil, yeah, ha ha.." and some older Deadheads were patting me gently and guiding me towards the door. "Forget those freaks," someone said in a nasal voice.. "they've blown their fuses. Let's go hear the WORD.. from JERRY!" and I was ushered into the gates. I'll admit I was a bit freaked out by the bible-boys.. once you get a big whiff of BRIMSTONE with a full steam acid trip on the way.. better drop back six and punt.
Then I was stopped at the door: there was NO PACK CHECK, in opposition to what I'd been told. They made me take out EVERYTHING, to the opening strains of Jack Straw inside, and heads were stepping over and around all my assorted cross-country gear while I feverishly struggled to put it all back together. Finally, I lugged it out onto the floor, where the llights were down and everyone was already dancing. The acid was coming on strong, and the best I could do was to find an open seat on the first tier riser at the side of the floor. It was getting all too complex, what with the doses, the shirt, the fuggin pack, and the Warnings of Doom, the solitariness. I sat out the first set on the side.
During halftime I was simply trashed, and some local kid next to me asked if he could use my ticket for a few minutes to get a look up front. Why not.. I was glued by gravity, and even speaking was a chore. Later, during Space, the kid came back with my stub.
At the end of the show he told me, "Oh yeah. Your seat was right next to Ken Kesey. He was in the front row with a folding lounge chair."
Oh, to what might have been. Another of Life's Moments passed by. Ahh, I guess maybe it balances out in the End, though; and if there's a Rock and Roll Heaven, there's gonna be a helluva BAND.
I roared out of there that night after the show, eager to get back onto the familiar bike, the familiar Endless Highway.. and maybe break through to California that night. I'd never been to California before, and what a night to do it. DUSTED on fine, fine acid, just mellow enough to ride carefully (well, in those days), and the stars were simply brilliant as I slid down the curves of Rte 5, one leg cocked forward, one tucked up, and I was soaring all the way down accompanied by the howling 1000cc Four, up until gassing up at Grant's Pass, where bad camchain noises forced a halt for the night and I slept under the big pines over near Rogue River Suzuki, waiting for the Big Fix next day.
The rest, as they say, is history.
But YOU sir, are partly to BLAME for all those evil, sordid experiences.. stemming DIRECTLY from those horrid, degenerate ACID tests back in the Sixties!!
Err, ah.. Thank You very very much.. for blazing a trail for those of us who were looking for something much deeper than simply getting fucked up.. and at least, sometimes even finding "it".
AHH, for a taste of the good old days again.. Tempis Fugit
Best of luck, Pilot Ken
Hudson Valley area, NY
check out this site, it's really a hoot!
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