Mrs. Hunter Thompson details family gathering with Thompson dead in chair
I notice in this article that Mrs. Thompson keeps mentioning details about the conditions under which HST wanted to die, sounding more and more like he was the kind of person who talked with her constantly about the possibility of suicide. Not that I'm laying blame on her necessarily, but the details: "I know he did not want me to find him alone. He knew I was opposed to it." He seems like the kind of guy who would sit around saying, "If I was going to do it, I wouldn't use that gun, I wouldn't do a sloppy job like [any given sap in the daily news]."

I guess I'm obsessing about the details of this story because it reminds me a little of my pen-pal Prof. V who committed suicide after many years of abstractly discussing the possibility that he would do it. It was something more like sepuku with him. More cultural than psychological, if that makes any sense. I mean any good book on Psychology will tell you that some strange beliefs that seem like delusions could be cultural beliefs. When a person says that wine turns into the blood of Christ when they take communion, would you call that delusion? Professionals psychiatrists try to distinguish those things. For a Christian, it is a cultural belief.

Maybe some people who kill themselves do it because they're depressed and could have been talked out of it. For some others, it's part of their belief system and not really a sign of depression. Not sure if that applies to HST, but I'm trying to explain how it seemed different for Prof. V, even though I don't agree and I would have loved to talk him out of it if I could have.

Friday Seeking Vice President, CMT DUKES OF HAZZARD INSTITUTE

The job responsibilities for the Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute are:
* watch The Dukes of Hazzard every weeknight on CMT;
* know the words to The Dukes of Hazzard theme song, "Good Ol' Boys," written and performed on the series by the legendary Waylon Jennings;
* serve as media expert on The Dukes of Hazzard for the CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute: must be available for TV, radio and newspaper interviews to share passion for The Dukes of Hazzard on CMT;
* write the CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute online blog for;
be passionate about The Dukes of Hazzard on CMT;
* make appearances at special events such as Dukesfest 2005 in Bristol, Tenn., (June 4-5, 2005).
[via boingboing]


Some simple game variations I came up with mixing card games with chess and Go:

Explosive Go - points scored in hands of a card game equal the number of stones that a player gets to place in his next turn of Go.

Chess On The Left Hand Path - Starting with half the normal number of chess pieces, players put their lost pieces back into play by winning rounds of a card game. (Dead pieces are kept in a row off the board, placed into battle starting with the one furthest to the right and working back to the left.)


Get Up And Go To Work, Go Home And Go To Bed
Scroll down that page until you see the song title, download the mp3, see if the chorus gives you chills down your spine like it does for me.
I've read and enjoyed some Hunter S. Thompson books, understand his complaints about society and government without wanting to emulate his drug use. I don't think I'm politically motivated to complain about him, but this guy left an example of a really inconsiderate suicide. I just heard on Democracy Now that he was supposedly on the phone to his wife or ex-wife when he shot himself, and some relatives were in another room of the house.

If you really got to go, at least be considerate and do like that journalist a few months back who left a warning note outside the door of his apartment to prevent strangers from being traumatized by his corpse: "Please call 911. Do not come in."


Richard Manning: The Economy of Hunger

Richard Manning: The Economy of Hunger
"Hunger in America is no longer a matter of falling through the cracks, of happenstance and misfortune. Hunger has been institutionalized as a part of the economic fabric, including especially the business of selling food."
[via CounterPunch]


You may have already seen some of the amusing film reviews of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, but you might not have realized that they now include some video game reviews.
[via metafilter]


How To Get Out Of Iraq: Fafnir
"...Then we will have specially trained troops sent out to each Iraqi home with cords attached to their backs and wait until sunrise and when all the Iraqi families start to wake up yawning and stretching and so on our troops jump out waving wiggly fingers and goin "It was allllll a dream... it was alllllll a dream!""

Fafnir has consistently funny stuff. Keep reading down that page of archive for Zen koans enacted by members of the Bush administration.

Another site that made me LOL was the Abstinence-Only Pledge! "I hereby pledge... to stay massively cool by not having sex. Because only major losers have sex – which everyone knows is only for fags. ...I understand that abstaining from sex protects me from the regret and guilt caused by the disgusting, squishy act of stupid sex, which is basically like going to the toilet from the front side."

Also for girls, check out Abstinence Coolness for Girls at


I'm not going to say it's a desecration, because drawing different versions of iconic characters is natural. Besides, classic characters have staying power that will long outlast the execs who flit in and out of a corporation pushing vacuous, rehashed ideas.

However I can tell you from the brief descriptions of these "modernized" WB characters, one of the factors that will contribute to the show's rapid downfall is that it breaks Professor V's Rule of Fantasy On Top Of Fantasy.

The rule is: if you have an outrageous fantasy character, then you must ground it in a mundane setting. If you want to show an outrageous fanstasy land, then you must help viewers sympathize by having a normal character exploring it. For example, ET is a weird character who wanders through familiar suburbia. Wonderland is exciting and frightening, but we are introduced to it gradually by the exploration of a normal little girl, Alice. If you pile up outrageous characters in outrageous settings, it's too much, and viewers or readers will be unable to sympathize.

The new Loonatics characters are fantasy on top of fantasy on top of fantasy:
1. Anthropomorphic creatures
2. with martial arts and super powers
3. Living 700 years in the future

I guess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were successful even though they had a few layers. But they were grounded in a fairly recognizable urban setting, and they behaved like stereotypical teenagers, so their personalities weren't too alien. Another failed example of this rule was an episode of the Ewoks cartoon in which one character was raised by space wolves to become a vigilante of the forest a la Tarzan. Like Ewoks aren't alien enough by themselves, now we have to figure out how an Ewok would act if it were a superhero raised by wolves.

This new show is going to be way too much. Kids might sustain interest for a few episodes, but how can you relate to uber-freaks?


How did it take me 5 years of bouncing around, an active member of h2g2 for most of that time, before I finally stumbled across this awesome Hitchhiker's Guide Screensaver?
Everyone Would Be In Love With Me
In the shower yesterday I made the discovery that you can fit the lyrics from the Oscar Mayer weiner jingle over the tune of "You Are So Beautiful To Me" with only some minor manipulations. They also work well with the tune "With A Little Help From My Friends." Only in this case you finish the weiner lyrics and then continue with the original Help From My Friends chorus, thusly:

I wish I was an Oscar Mayer weiner,
that is what I'd truly like to be.
Cause if I was an Oscar Mayer weiner,
everyone would be in love with me

oh and I would FRY with a little HELP from my FRIENDS!
(put onions on me, I'll) CRY with a little HELP from my FRIENDS!
make your cholesterol HIGH with a little HELP from my FRIENDS!

Singing it in the style of Joe Cocker lets you emphasize emotion-drenched snippets like "I wish I was" and "Everyone would be in love with me".

Also with "You Are So Beautiful To Me" I find it works best when you cut out the "Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A" and revert to Cocker's super high original lyric "Meeeeeeee!" Making it:

Oscar Mayer has his way...

This discovery may be less earth-shattering than the fact that Leave It To Beaver melody fits over top of the Smurf Theme (La La La La La La), but I still can't tell how important that discovery is until I can figure out how to fingerpick both of them on the guitar at the same time. I know Leo Kottke recorded a song based on Woody Woodpecker played backwards, which he calls "Peckerwood." Perhaps he could be enlisted to make a version of "Smurf Beaver."


Heard on Harry Shearer's Le Show:

Harry: ShabShab, you're not blogging, are you?

ShabShab: I don't think so. I was constipated a little while in November, but I think that was basically some Jordanian felafel.


I grew up middle class, but sometimes felt like we didn't have all the latest amenities. Like you know how people growing up in the Fifties talk about whether they were the first on the block to get color tv? There are a few thresholds like that in the Eighties, when more than half of all US households had a VCR or home computer of some kind. I guess we were early crossing some thresholds but more often late with some others. Even then, my parents had chosen other luxuries or expenses above some of the common luxuries. For example, we had no dishwasher or clothesdryer up through the time I moved out, 1995. (Age 23? Don't worry, I came back off and on a few times after that. Melinda and I lived in Ma's basement. My stepdad started calling us The People Under The Stairs. Imagine the most gentle, light-hearted way that you could take that, and imagine the underlying hostility if you took it seriously, and that pretty much exemplifies how we got along at different points.)

So that seemed like we were behind the times. On the other hand, my mom had a horse since about 1978, and that costs money. My dad amassed a collection of shotguns and muzzleloaders over the years. We got a Commodore 64 in about 1982, which was probably several years before home computers were in 50 percent of homes. So it's not like we were really poor. We certainly never missed meals.

Anyhow, reading the Feb 2005 issue of Harper's Magazine, I was reminded of another technology of which we were a late-adopter. In an article about tacky architecture in Shanghai, China, the author mentions how some of the tallest skyscrapers you see have rows of air conditioners hanging out the windows, which made him think they were slum skyscrapers.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Michigan and we only had a few hours per day for a few months each year of intolerable heat, but we never had an air conditioner of any kind. Again my mom got one a few years after I finally moved out. (Hey, I'm seeing a pattern here!)

I suppose that doesn't say as much about my situation growing up as it says about the snootiness of that author.
Ghost of Lemon Chicken Soup - a recipe I improvised to use some leftover lemon chicken carcass.


Melinda's average day involves several hours discussing politics and mental health on message boards and email groups, as well as looking up mental health news so she can send links to all her friends and correspondents. She finally agreed to put this to good use by assembling a DIY radio show. Which is to say, she and I recorded some stuff on the computer, and anyone who's interested can download the mp3 at

The show is called "Out of Sight, Out of Mind." The Feb 1 installment was 26 minutes long, file size 2 Mb. We might put them together monthly or semi-weekly, or whenever Melinda gets the urge. The topic of the show is mental health stigma. I read some news stories that Melinda found, then we talked about it afterward. Some of the things mentioned:
-the idea of comparing racism to mental health stigma
- censorship of sexism on Houston Indymedia and how it does not seem to apply to mental health stigma
- the Christmas Comedy Coup players skit on Bush and schizophrenics

Contains cuss words.

Please let Melinda know if you liked it or if you'd like to receive emails when new installments come out. She's at


We have some posters at work promoting, a sort of outsourced system for anonymous and confidential complaints toward your employer. Like if you're afraid to turn in a boss for harassment or for successfully emulating Enron's financial crimes, then you can run it through this system instead of guessing which of your superiors might punish you for blowing the whistle.

Reasonable idea I suppose, although it sounds like an outsourced service which provides ethics when you can't be arsed to figure them out for yourself. At first I thought it was software, which is even more frightening and absurd, though still nearly plausible.

Coming soon: DignitySource. IntegrityTech. WarmthCenter. Humanity Factory Outlet. EtCetera.
National Pretentious Radio
It's nice that the show Day to Day is willing to run 30 second spots like this Audio Snapshot: A Life-Saving Class. Anecdotes. Cool. Then they give the name of the "producer" and what station or network the producer is from. Is it really worth listing credits for 30 seconds of audio?