here's a report from China Greg, hipping you to the haps over there, waaaaaaay over there.

They were giving this program down in Ningbo City at a park famous for being a suicide site for two dim-witted, 10th-Century Confuzed lovers whose parents didn't.. ...okay, well, you know the Drill. Beat Shakespeare out by 600 years.

So I got prodded into this deal by my hotel manager "Mama", Wu Bi Yan, a warm-hearted-but-starchy, 29-year old relic of the Mao era. The score was that supposedly 10,000 Flowers would be blooming (the Chinese simply love the number 10,000) in the park.. and you were supposed to register in advance and then provide credentials, including Certificate of Being Single upon arrival. (I faked one. Put a big splotchy red-star STAMP on anything here and they'll swallow it).

After registering by phone initially (Ningbo is about 90 mnutes away), I started getting return phone calls: first from the leaders of the program, telling me that I was the first foreigner to get involved, and would be treated as a VIP; the second from a Ningbo newspaper wanting to follow me around at the digs.

It was a little rainy and gray, but a lot of people had turned out. I was quickly spotted by the manager of the program, who ushered me into a "VIP" room and introduced me to the friend of a reporter who had been roped into playing translator on her day off.

After the perfunctory laughs and giggles and tea and cigarette pleasantries, I was led out into the park where there was a huge number of clotheslines strung up, bearing thousands of pink or blue papers advertising the lonely-hearted. I was soon dragged into "meeting" an odd-assortment of ladies, usually with their mothers, who eyed me suspiciously.

"HOW MUCH MONEY DOES HE MAKE?" spat one brittle-looking, steel-toothed crone, who squinted at me with a disdainful scowl. Her rather plain, 36-year old daughter stood by bashfully, tugging at Mama's sleeve: let's go. The Chinese are generally very shy, especially in such "direct" circumstances, and it was amazing that more than HALF of all the people in attendance were mothers and fathers doing all the footwork for their prodgeny, who were unwilling to attend. This is classic in China, and even to this day parents often glumly take on the responsibility of matchmaking for their kids.

"TOO OLD!!" barked another eldery matron at me with a dismissive wave-off. Her even plainer-looking daughter quickly retreated, red-faced. I laughed through the tears. Any countryside Chinese over the venerable age of about 26 is considered as dwindling on the vine; only in the cities are women waiting until their later twenties, or even thirty, to hitch-up. Making a baby is of critical importance here, as there's no social security net of any kind, and you simply must have a child to support you, (although that scheme is slowly crumbling due to the pressures loaded onto the One-Child families. Sonny Boy has gotta support Mom, Dad, his wife's parents, his own grandparents, HER grandparents, and a KID. Time for flight, eh?).

The nice lady offered as a translator was very kindly to me; if she hadn't been married already I might have actually been interested in her, but in lieu of that she was good company and quite helpful. A lot of people would gather around me when I was speaking Chinese, amazed to see a Foreigner at all, much less one dribbling clumsy Mandarin. One hardy soul approached me and chatted me up bravely . She was about 55, and showed every minute of it, but was quite entertaining in her directness, admitting that you probably wouldn't be interested but here's my card anyway. Had to give her high marks for her courage and spunk.

As I said, a lot of parents stood around sizing me up... one old worker guy with some kind of heavy face problem due to disease or industrial accident or something.. he was kindly to me, especially after he saw me looking him in the eye and not flinching at his deformity. He, like many others, had been peering at my particular info sheet strung up on the line, which had by then collected four pink-colored, paper badges from potentially interested women (or more likely their parents). All that was included was a first name and a telephone number. I couldn't reed ANY of them, as they were all in Mandarin characters..

One short, muscular guy approached me and said his boss was interested in me, and before I could tell him I wasnt gay, his "boss" arrived; an extremely homely woman in her late forties, and I thought, GAWD, is this what I'm up to now? I tried hard to be kindly to the gal; she was really uncomfortably unattractive and obviously all too aware of it. She knew the deal already and backed away gracefully.

I'll have to contact the phone numbers on my "sheet" and see wha's up. I'm not highly optimistic about the actual program results... However, two newspapers and at least one TV station paid me a lot of attention, and I agreed to do interviews with them ONLY on the condition that they publish my e-mail.

So after a nice VIP-level lunch with the program director out in a cool park restaurant by the river, I wandered around with my translator for a while, before graciously letting her go off to enjoy her own Saturday activities. One of the managers of the project claimed she would leave my sheet up on the line today, and forward me any messages so attached.
It's a nice day today; maybe they'll have another ten-thousand flowers, and their mamas.

-- Greg

Circa 1970. Rural road, not a lot of cars. Hot, dusty, summertime. My friend and I were hitchhiking. I can't remember where we were going--maybe swimming? I can remember that we weren't entirely kosher.

New York State Trooper pulls up. You know this man---head shaved, those scary hats that they wear, big man, testosterone wafting off of him in waves. He makes us come to the front of the car and tells my friend to empty his pockets on the hood.

I'm really afraid. Shit. I'm about 15 years old, a 15 year old American girl. I don't want to get arrested. I don't want to go to jail. You know my thought here also--the thought is--Who can ever imagine on God's green earth what the hell this boy has in his pockets? We're going down.

My friend has on those big overalls we used to wear when we were kids. Lots of pockets. So, he starts emptying them---10, 30, 100 little wooden stick matches. Pocket after pocket. 300, 1000. Thousands. Thousands of little wooden stick matches. At one point he says the only thing we verbally say to this officer during the incident---"Oh, I forgot this pocket"--100, 200 more.

The cop gets this amazing look of incredulity on his face. He gets back in his cruiser, revs the engine, nearly runs us over, and leaves, little wooden stick matches flying all over the road.

I remember what my friend said to me, "I think it's alright now." I remember what I said back--"not if you expect me to help you pick up those matches."

So, if you're still with me, the question of the day: What is it, Capn? Nature or nurture or something else? You've seen more than most. What is it that makes some people so insistent on enforcing the rules while others seem to create bits of magic around themselves such that a lot of the rules become irrelevant?

-- Sandy T


oh, it is a bit of ignorance meeting native shamanism in a world where all things exist at the same time sometimes in the same place
-- capn skyp



This is Fred. When he sez his name, he sez Fwed. Fwed cleans pot for me. He likes the seeds. When he runs out he taps his beak three times on something hard, like this tray, and he gets more to clean. This is probably how the Flintstones cleaned their pot, doyathink?
Look at that dirty beak! Fwed been workin' ha'd.

-- from an anonymous pewson


Cap'n Skyp- Let's think positive... heh heh. Funny- This whole mysterybox story reminds me of a real-life adventure I had long ago with one of my Afghan friends, Mohammad Hanif. The story is a true one, and I have never told it  to anyone, though I have been itching to for years.
  Hanif has no legs. You would never know it- he rid es motorcycles like a pro. He stepped on a land mine when he was 19 years old and US Army doctors in Germany got him a pair of incredibly heavy WWII vintage wooden prosthetics. He wears them like they grew there. He can dance.

  One time my wife Mica and I took Hanif camping. We left in the evening, and as we drove in the middle of the night through Globe, Arizona, Hanif sat in the passenger seat of my little brown Chevi, rocking out to my collection of Pashto music tapes, when he inadvertently kicked over a gallon of water without knowing it (no legs- no feeling in them wooden legs!) When I realized there was water sloshing around, I started looking for a spot to pull over. We stopped to clean things up in what we did not know was the parking lot of a real estate office that had recently received some bomb threats, owing to the fact that they were selling houses that had been foreclosed on mine workers who had lost their jobs and everything else when Phelps-Dodge closed the copper mines.
 I had to take everything out of the car to dry it all, and it being dark, I accidentally left my briefcase on the ground when we drove away. Hanif called it my "bakseedastah in Dari, a plastic AMWAY samples case containing all Hanif,s travel papers, as well as the microphones for my band.
The next morning I discovered it was missing. We looked everywhere. I drove back from our campsite, all along the highway miles and miles, through Globe, Miami, Superior, and back. It was nowhere in that parking lot where we had stopped. Finally I stopped at the Globe Police Department, and asked if anyone had found a black plastic AMWAY sample case along the highway. They said they couldn,t help us, but suggested we visit the Highway Patrol station. Actually, they sort-of insisted. They directed us there and made sure we found it.
The Highway Patrol were courteous and helpful. They separated the three of us into small rooms and subjected us each to several long sessions of questioning by different officers. They never said anything about having found my bakseedastah.
  Finally an officer took me alone out to a patrol car and we drove several miles out of town. Still no explanation for any of this. He pulled over near a large empty piece of desert, maybe an acre of land, completely surrounded by a 10-foot fence topped with a Y-shaped formation of razor wire.
"Is that yours? He asked, pointing to the center of the field.
"What? -I didn,t see anything.
Then I saw it. It was so far away, and so dwarfed by the size of the empty field that I had missed it.
"My Briefcase!, I exclaimed.
"Go pick it up, the officer commanded.
I did as he said, and when I got to the middle of the field, I opened it, and I could see the officer flinch from where he stood by his car. Not a thing was missing. They had not opened it because they had never physically touched the box. It had been carried to that location on the end of a 16-foot pole attached to a flatbed truck, by the Arizona HP bomb squad They were that afraid of it.
I nervously but patiently began to explain the meaning of all the Arabic-looking Pashto and Dari documents in my briefcase, but he didn,t care and hadn,t seen any of it anyway.
Breathing obvious relief, the officer told me that when an employee had arrived at the real estate office that morning, she had called the Police to report the presence of the mysterious black plastic object, and communicated her fears that it might contained a bomb planted by an angry, homeless former mine employee. The Police and Highway Patrol acted as they are trained to do when they believe there is an explosive device present. They were planning on blowing up my briefcase as soon as they had completed their preparations to do so. I was just in time!
This was over a decade before "nine-eleven and the "war-on terrorism. The HP officers and staff entertained us with fine-style hospitality before sending us on our leisurely way with coffee cake and other goodies. Hanif, beaming, shook hands with every one before we left (Shaking hands is a big deal with Afghan people). "You are my Brothers! he repeated to each, regardless of gender (not knowing much English), and "See you later Alligator, something else I taught him.

Bill Sahib, I have a very bad pain in my tooth."

Hanif stayed with us for several months, and when he had to go home to Kabul, he gave me a phone number in Washington DC where he said I could reach him- the home of a man named Mr. Karzai.
Khuda Hafiz! -Sky Pilot #114 Ali Bob




Heating up. Go to the beach, the stream, the river, the pond, the puddle. Watch the meteor showers at night. Attend concerts outdoors. I went to see the Floydian Slips do The Wall outside on the Kesey Plaza in Eugene with people sitting on Kesey's lap where he is ensconsed in metallic pose reading to his metallic grand children. Other went to see the Dead in Camden N.J. Here's some reports:

Hey, Cap'n Crunchie..

Gotta add my nickel into the hat. Saw The Dead twice out East here: Haaat-fed Connecticut and Davy Jones Beach. Ahh. Coupla' brief musings:

Okay, now that that's out of the way, the guys are doing a great job of keeping The Scene alive. The parking lot flavor is definitely more... subdued  than it was in the (erp) "Good Old Days", what with everybody all freaky-deaky about having more than your State Quota of three beers, and tickets ain't cheap these days, (nor anything ELSE one might wish to pay for. Get it?). I'd say most of the fans were pretty straight, especially at Jones Beach which turned out to be alcohol free inside [dry croaking noises]; but there were still lots of exotic scents in the air. Plenty of vending, both venues, and the cops seemed surprisingly low-key and friendly at both shows I went to.
The Boys did a swell job of mixing things into a new Amalgam, and you have to keep pinching yourself and reminding, it's a NEW BAND. With that in mind, one is free to swing with some really well-played music, and I blow my nose at the "I won't go because it's not JERRY" contingency. Lesh and Weir are dragging out a slew of oddball chestnuts that I guess Ol Jer veered away from; Mason's Children, Golden Road, Til the Morning Comes. Yumps! There was some guitar overkill between Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring at Hartford, (gotta love Herring's sound), but they seemed to have had it nicely balanced out for the NY shows. Jones Beach is so cool because the stage is actually IN the water of the marshy Sound, and from the stands you can look right out over the dark Atlantic 1/4 mile off over the spit, and far up the bejewelled, nighttime coastline. "I wish I was a headlight, on a Northbound Trawler!"

So anyway, Two Thumbs Up for the old duffers, keeping IT alive. No excuses, now: Dust off that tie-dye and get on out there when they come to town. You'll be surprised.

Greg BeamR


the band was in great form last night
with lots of oldies but goodies
like Cosmic Charlie and Viola Lee Blues
and Alligator. Weir's knees were found to
be "unsightly" in our eyes, and while the notes that are in Phil Lesh seem hesitant to pass by his vocal cords, they do eventually muster the determination, then singeth Phil doth, the music was grand, tonight we have fourth row center and looking for a birthday request from Hunter of Ship of Fools
apropos Hunter played our request first thing.
good music and weather
the battleship the U.S.S. New Jersey
was parked next to the theater
in clear view
I couldn't help but notice
the projection of the show on a big wall
pointed right at the ship,
also the only theater
where you could see another state (Pennsylvania)
from your seat (New Jersey)
a raging vendor village was set up
in the parking lot
but being as it still was New Jersey
a fight busted out with broken beer bottles
as weapons
and bottles flying in the air.

-- Sgt O'Reilly


Wore my Sky Pilot Club cap and t-shirt around the parking lot at The Dead show in Camden Sunday. Must have been a half dozen men and women stop me to talk.

Sunday night's show was a-fucking-mazing.
Them boys can still conjure.
I must admit I was having my doubts, thinking maybe them days was over, but it all came together Sunday
and I left renewed and restored in my faith in the serendipitous and ephemeral blessings of sychronisity.
sometimes I still need a good ass kicking reminder.
That was it.

-- Slammer Hammer


Just came back from 4 days of Dead shows out east here where, dressed in my unofficial prankster white jumpsuit resplendent with stars, stripes and various other decorations, I handed out colorful b-card sized flyers with the skypilot logo and website address on one side and assorted pyscho-delik images on the other. (is that a run-on sentence?) I'm worried because very few of the folks I encountered knew any cosmic history regarding the music and movement. Many people thought I was Evil Knieval or some other guy from TV who I didn't recognize.

-- Chris #90


Cap'n, Dead show was outstanding wore the tee shirt..it really stands out among the sea of tie dye and was able to seek out whirling dervishes and happy smiling fans some i think were really deep in the soup...these were the ones that got the skypilot cards handed to them did not have to say much to any of them...don;t know if they would have understood anyway. It was a blast the Dead are still able to find Kosmos Groove and played for hours. The people ranged from old to very young like months old and up into the seasoned citizens. I of course represent the later. What a show what a crowd and the parking lot was as weird as ever with all sorts of tribes and vibes. Skypilot #43 Shamokin pa. Love Never Fails. Up  Up...... Now Away !!!!!

From Lance Boyle

I'm a member lots of stuff. Some maybe more than else, but that King
Tut thing stands out.
Back in summer '76.
And the Granma Whittier thing with the shawl at Lewis and Clark.
And the immense love at Bend that time of coming together.
Them guys from Florida? In the delegate assembly at the end after we
sang "Tis Land Is Your Land"?
When they shook their hair down and went into that angel-rap thing?
All mine stood up at once.
There was a dude on the lawn with some kind of t-shirt with a star,
and KenK nailed him for not being a delegate, and Joel Schatz all
red-eyed with communion talking about computers and p2p w/o the telcom
And you played that damn trombone with Frivol
and Corky Hubbert was there.
You were doing that "Dunbar" schtick.
And Krassner being profoundly real on presence alone.

And coming out of the Rolling Stones at the Cow Palace in '65.
Freaks at the gate with flyers.
At the dawn of the Gateful Dread.
A thing of the past to come.

Tell about the time he rowed over a roll of motrcycles.

still here
still not sure why exactly
but OK

From ryan in cleveland:

ok , I found the reasons for the hip-hop problem, once again the exploitations of corporate america, creates a rift and ignorance, exploitation of talent making streetcorner crimies heros , when they were just doin what they felt they had to, creating more money funneling through the court system
and the backlash is the suburban white boys that take it all to serious, living out every word, { if america is obsessed with these people that drive around the block and cap eachother , could you imagine stories about things my friends have done in the past.} I listen to motown regularly have a couple songs on all my mix cd's , under pain and pressure a soul does tend to sing love songs, but now the key to being rich is pain and murder, the difference is your friends sang for the heart , now it's for the record deal, and those that don't are silenced. this is an essay i'm gonna put on my webzine, { i'm GONNA have secret decoder rings}, Jon Kerry is drivin me nuts, someone needs to possess him or something to get through this election, open window of opportunity , yEAH, let's talk about what I did in the war, REAL HERO stories I know war , I know soldiers, i've had to kill a man , I know what happened I have every right to protest, HE DOESN"T EVEN MENTION IT, you find the stuff in the back of the paper , but he doesn't bring it up. I wish dean and Kerry could be merged, I'm sure kerry is a good guy and he went into politics with good heart I can't even imagine what a life of washington could do to a person, but he needs a jolt. but then again with the sudden creation of electronic voting machines , i can only imagine, he needs to shrug off the crap they throw at him he goes for it hook , line , and sinker

what a psychedelic mess, yet it holds a correction that no man can detest, at first glance disorder, but at second legendary order, for those that seek such a foul thing, but for others such a sweet young thing

the fun thing about these first years of school, it ain't to bad for a kid that slept upon every rooftop and in evry squat house surroundin evry perimeter of the french quarter before I ever considered dead tour, squandered NYC , spent nights beneath lifeguard posts in venice beach, hitched evrey bi-way and hi-way of america spun hill jacks beyond recognition in the swamps of florida,{ only for them to say god dammit i'm goin on grateful dead tour} walked every street of colorado,hi-jacked U-HAULS L and R , ran tucson like a son of a gun and spent to many but not enough nights in the mission, only to see the blisterin sun, sleepin at the great highway and Judah with bon fires a blazin, pullin kids to the rocky ledges overlookin, this must be heavin but tonight I crossed the line to many angels out there for one soul to find.

Here's Greg BeamR, writing from Station China who will tell us about himself in his own writ:

A short personal description here for the record (hi-haddya doo): mid -Forties (aaahhp, where does it GO?)... holding a meagerly-paying-but-colorful corporate job now, for 16 years. I've been to about 250 Dead shows, 1977- 1995.. last show: East Coast on the fateful, final tour.. Albany NY.. All Things Must Pass.

I've done a fair amount of reading; was a JRN/Lit major in college. After that, we had our own happy-freaky "family" unit of sorts, (not quite California style, but a cool group of funny people anyway).. until we all eventually succumbed to Suburban Gravity.. marriages/mortgages/kids/computers/doctors/lawyers/indian chiefs, etc. ..like most other "Second Generation" heads.. (YOU guys took the initial shock-wave.. we surfed the Backwash). My band-mates and I still get IT out and dust off the strings time to time; had a great psychedelic rock band going for ten years... best in Rockland County... opened up for BB King, The Band, Electric Tuna, Merle Saunders, few others; blew the competition off the stage in a Band Battle at Asbury Park's Stone Pony; played Wetlands in Manhattan every week for a year. I'm one of the few in our circle who's remained single, somehow kept a job, didn't quite "sell out" (notably, anyway) or drift into alcoholism (but, hey, the night is YOUNG). I managed to swing this odd, corporate gig doing QC in China for a NY based ball-bearing plant. Okay, well, it's a living, ..and keeps my noodle-hole filled.
China, by the way, is EXACTLY like a Grateful Dead, heavily-dosed, Parking-Lot scene: Lots of truly weird, semi-washed people, mumbling in obscure languages that you can't quite decipher, waving their arms in the air for no reason whatsoever, and shuffling around distractedly though piles of refuse.
Well, I fit right IN here! ..a very natural progression forward!

Slam the hatch and roar off over the Yellow Sea... finally careening down onto the dingy, street-lit gloom of choking ten million people in a big, rubber-chirping thud. By now, I'm fully whacked, and it's time for yet more sleep in a glossy Pu Dong hotel, despite the ugly fact that it's really 10am inside your head.
Next "morning", here's your 6am wake-up call, and you've slept most of the night "pretty well". But just as you're congratulating yourself on launching a successful, early volley against Maximum Lag (12 hours worth, count 'em), the first wave of sweats hits you at the Ning Bo Airport ticket counter, and your brain begins swimming while arguing in broken Manadrin about some mythical "baggage tax". Ha! Gotcha! Meanwhile, as a Veteran, you have the privilege of knowing that the first three days will be a calliope blur of nightime pacings and eye-burning, daytime exhaustion; punctuated by whimpering bouts of teeth-grinding constipation and humidity-induced delirium tremors.
Welcome to Shanghai, Sonny.
Okay, ..so it's a living.


 unstigmatized, decriminalized participants
of human potential kick out the
jams take evolution with
their coffee free for all.
you is in free fall now
and here it is Spring
hope I land on springs
makes you thirsty

--airy ace

 A generational link, a catalyst that is the question, how to propose and compromise, the last generation of GD tour my closest friends that live for nothing but each other we spend hours on the phone still, have nothing left but our will, bored as hell saying what now, loving to entertain, would pull off any tomfoolery, without a second thought, cus we were heavan tossed.

-- Ryan