October = HST Month? Hard to tell.

October is shaping up to be the officially unofficial Hunter S. Thompson Month.

Two big bits of Gonzo action are slated; one, no doubt, orchestrated around the the other.

FEAR AND LOATHING AT ROLLING STONE is due to hit bookstores on October 16 — a week or so ahead of the long-awaited theatrical release (October 28) of THE RUM DIARY staring Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking, The Core, Dark Knight Returns), Amber Heard (Drive Angry, Zombieland), Giovanni Ribisi (Flight of the Phoenix, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Avatar), and good ol’ Colonel Ray himself, Johnny Depp — who, along with Nick Nolte, are Executive Producers.

A RUM DIARY movie poster was tough to find, which is shocking. The one above is at least two years old. Logic dictates that Warner Bros. would be doing more to boost their $45,000,000 film. (That’s nearly double what Universal spent on FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.) Combine the wide HST and Depp fanbases — as well as the Vegas movie’s cult status, DVD sales, and Criterion Collection treatment — and WB could have a modest hit on its hands. If they promote it. Which doesn’t seem to be happening. They don’t even have a trailer.

Could the fact that the movie has been in the can for more than a year be part of Warner’s overall lack of interest?

The film was completed in 2010 and, if memory serves, was pretty much ready to roll. But Depp jumped into filming something and, rather than run the PR engine without the big star, release was delayed for when he could make the rounds, too.

One Depp fan site referenced an Entertainment Weekly article from the January 21, 2011 issue quoting him as wanting to promote RUM DIARY through a college campus bus tour. Fantastic idea, really. Introduce the film the way Hunter used to work the collage circuit. But it would seem that not a single PR cowboy is out driving that herd. Neither is any RUM DIARY information to be found on the Warner Brothers Webpage — which, by the way, is an absolute mess.

(Tried going through their contact page for info on press kits, etc. Hit the submit button and get this:


So, a bit more than two months from opening day and nobody is stirring up buzz. Dumb bastards.

And so much for them.

Simon and Schuster has set the street date of FEAR AND LOATHING AT ROLLING STONE for a little more than a week prior to the film’s release, cleverly poised to take advantage of all the front end advertising money spent by the studio promoting the film. Since Simon and Schuster put out the 1999 edition of Rum Diary, I’d have thought they’d be releasing an updated edition to coincide with the film, maybe something with the movie poster on the cover.

Oh, wait . . . Never mind.

FEAR AND LOATHING AT ROLLING STONE appears to be the latest collection of HST’s writings reheated for fun and profit. The sub-head is “The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson.” How essential this will be remains to be seen. Here’s the blurb from Amazon.com:

From Hunter’s first piece for Rolling Stone—the story of his infamous run for sheriff of Aspen in 1970 on the Freak Party platform—to his last piece on the Kerry/Bush showdown in 2004, with plenty of Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, Muhammad Ali, and Bill Clinton woven in along the way, Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone presents forty-two examples of the best of Hunter’s work edited anew, along with never-before-seen selections from the correspondence between Wenner and Thompson. The result is a vital inside glimpse of the rollicking spectacle of a writer at his peak, delivering the work of his career to the editor of the magazine that became his literary home.

A couple things in that make my bowels twinge.  First, “the best of Hunter’s work edited anew . . . ” That sounds ominous and wrong — like “clean coal” or “New Coke.” It says something, but what does it mean?

Amazon lists Jann Wenner as the book’s sole editor, which is interesting. If he is editor-as- compiler — the same way Otto Penzler edited The Big Book Of Adventure Stories — then, right on. But then why say “re-edited?” Why would “the best of” what was previously published need to be monkeyed with? If a story had gone to the RS presses with typos, etc., let them stand. They are a piece of history — both Hunter’s and Rolling Stone’s.

Second, “along with never-before-seen selections from the correspondence between Wenner and Thompson.” Will readers/fans/historians finally get a look at the letter Hunter was supposed to have sent after Jann folded Straight Arrow Books, thereby nullifying the $75,000 advance Hunter was getting for another Campaign book? Will we get a look at the Saigon cable — sent after Hunter found out Wenner had (allegedly) fired him and cancelled his insurance?

Seeing as how in Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, Wenner put it on the record that this last (alleged) act of (alleged) treachery was an ongoing gag between the two of them, the chances of the Saigon cable will be included are somewhere near zero. Same for the Straight Arrow letter. That is, if the letters ever existed in the first place. They could be more persistent bits of the Mythology. “Print the legend,” and so forth.

But we won’t know any of this until the book hits the street.

As for the movie, contact has been made with the Chicago office promoting THE RUM DIARY. Not a lot of action as yet, but the nice lady there said she’d keep me in the loop regarding screenings, etc. So, you’ll know more as soon as I do.

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The Continental Shelf at Gannon’s Pub

4264 N. Lincoln Ave. (on the southwest corner of Lincoln and Cullom) Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 281-1007

Last weekend was spent at Lollapalooza, working in Tent #19, taking money and handing out beers to crazy, sweaty drunks — most of whom were nice enough until the end of the night when they kept asking for everything we’d just told them we sold out of. People who’ve been standing for ninety minutes in front of apartment-sized amplifiers don’t seem to hear very well.

One of the madmen working hard behinds the scenes was Noah, a high school teacher and bartender at Gannon’s Pub in Chicago.

We started talking about the two major bummers of this year’s Lolla: several truly crappy bands on the Bud Light stage and the fact that we working the beer tents weren’t allowed to drink any product. None of us couldn’t figure that one out. We’d done it in the past with the full understanding that if we got ripped, we got sent home for good. So this year’s dictum came as a very hot and unpleasant surprise.

Three o’clock Saturday afternoon,too sober and too depressed to stand, I went and sat in a barrel full of ice water and cold cans of beer I couldn’t drink, and started dreaming about a Continental Shelf. I must have been talking in my sleep because Noah asked what the hell I was jabbering about. So I told him. Then he wanted one, too. So did Big Tim. It was contagious. And it was then that Noah swore he’d start mixing them at Gannon’s.

The next time you’re out on the town and looking for a tasty beverage, head over to Gannon’s and look for Noah. Give him the nod, ask him to shake you up a Continental Shelf, and tip him well. He’ll know what it’s all about.

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Maxfield Perish: Zombie Fighter

A few years ago, while working on another zombie novel, I went searching for connections to the outside world. After joining a few zombie and survival groups on LinkedIn, I found the Zombie Friends site. One of the reasons to sign up there was the Writer’s Workshop — a place for authors and poets to post their goods for review and comment. So I uploaded a modified version of the novel’s first chapter.

Nearly three years later, “Maxfield Perish: Zombie Fighter” is the most viewed story on the Zombie Friends site: 2938 reads and counting.

If you’re getting itchy to read the rest of Fear & Loathing Of The Undead, I don’t blame you. I am, too. I know how it ends, though knowing it and reading it are two different things.

In the meantime, take a click on over to the Zombie Friends site and read about the exploits of young Max. Lots of full-on zombie gore. Dig it.

(The one thing that sucks about the Zombie Friends’s Writers Workshop is that the page shows only a few dozen posts. There has to be at least a hundred other stories, poems, etc. on the site, though there is no way to tell. And the Search box is useful only if you know what you’re searching for. Too bad. There are probably some hidden gems there that no one can get to. If you find anything worth reading, paste the link in comments and I’ll be sure to post it here. Thanks.)


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A solution to Spam? Think again.

Two bits of spam were stinking up the comments section, waiting for approval, both promoting the same Brand X MP3 player. Since this can’t be a coincidence, someone at this company, or the PR firm they hired, is intentionally jamming inboxes with crap no one wants to read.

With all the technology available to our government these days, and their dizzying legal rights to pursue people across the Internet without a warrant, why isn’t there an agency going after spammers? Fuck these bastards over with excessive fines the same way housewives and college students are when they illegally download music. Think of all the money we could add to the country’s accounts by trying spammers in closed door military tribunals then fining them out of existence . . .

Oh, wait. Maybe it has something to do with the weak-ass legislation passed in 2003 that pretends to address spam, but effectively does nothing about it — because “the bill . . . preempts laws that allowed for (among other things) easier prosecution and rights to private action.”

According to the CAN_SPAM act, there are even some forms of spam exempt from complying with the law. These include:

  • religious messages
  • political messages
  • national security messages

In essence, the church, elected officials, people running for office, and even our own government can spam the hell out of our inboxes with impunity.

When faced with a mess as big as our own government, it is hard to know where to start trying to clean it up. Especially when the people making the mess don’t want it clean.



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Zombie Run in Maryland

This just in from one of FLotU’s delicious, er, I mean beautiful correspondents — who got the info from one of the many friends of the site:

It would appear the zombies are organizing a 5K obstacle course event in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.

OK, maybe not a Baltimore suburb. More like half way between Baltimore and Newark, NJ — a few miles northwest of scenic Port Deposit. Too bad the inaugural race didn’t kick off anywhere near Evans or Monroeville, PA (homes to the initial 1968 and 1978 outbreaks of the Romero Virus.)

From the How It Works and FAQs, this would appear to be more of a 5k flee than a plain ol’ run. Zombies will be along the course, waiting to get a hold of race participants. If a runner has all his/her “health” flags pulled by a zombie, then that person becomes one of the undead. It is unclear if the freshly dead are immediately disqualified or remain able to finish the course.

What is clear is that if a participant cannot overcome an obstacle, that person is marked a ‘zombie’ on the final results. Sucks to be that guy.

Anyone finishing the race with at least one health flag can expect to walk away with:

  • Warwear performance tee
  • Racing bib
  • Medals to signify your survival (or zombie transformation)
  • Admittance to the Apocalypse Party
  • Advanced training for the actual Zombie Apocalypse
  • One less appendage

Per our hot tasty yummy lovely correspondent, Zombie Runs are set to spread into other towns next year.

So start training now; the Apocalypse is just around the corner.

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The Electric Jesus

Just caught this over at Funny Or Die:

Drunk History Presents: Nikola Tesla

John C. Riley as Tesla

Crispin Glover as Edison

Some overeducated caveman ripped on beer and absinthe as The Narrator.


Do it.

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A Doublespeak Dictionary

For several months I’ve been conducting a minor social experiment: salting conversation with neighbors and other villagers with doublespeak phrases, mostly “Un-____” or “doubleplus” (e.g., “Un-good,” “doubleplus hot”) — words that are easy to decode given their context and any  non-verbal cues. The idea is to see if and when it catches on, and who says it back first, then find out if they’ve used it elsewhere. So far, no soap.

(And now that I’ve blabbed about it, the data will be tainted.That’s assuming anybody in town is reading this site. A bold assumption, indeed.)

As doubleplus weird as this experiment may seem, Americans are already conversant in Newspeak. They just don’t know it as such.

As detailed on the Newspeak Dictionary site, there are hundreds of examples of Newspeak and Doublespeak in our daily language, most of which we don’t recognize as obfuscating the very thing the words are supposed to identify.  We pick up via the media some seemingly perfect word, reuse it until we think we know what we’re really saying though never considering the full meaning. Then again, the American school system long ago quit teaching students how to think for themselves, or to consider the deeper significance of our words and actions.

Take for example, “debt ceiling.”

Or , “The Patriot Act.”

Or, “Peacekeepers.”

See what I mean.

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Well, damnit . . .

Last week’s story on “The Rumble in the Jungle” used to have an update on it with observations about the February 1978 Ali-Spinks fight at the Las Vegas Hilton. Or so I thought. Now it’s not there, I can’t find a draft in the archives, and I’m pretty sure the notes went out to the curb for garbage day.

Son of a bitch. That update had some fine writing in it, too.

Screw it. Here’s a picture from the fight. It pretty much says it all, anyway.

UPDATE:  Checked the wife’s computer (where the Ali-Spinks piece was written) and found nothing. Not even a downloaded image. Somebody is trying to gaslight me.

I think it’s working.

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Dutch Hells Angels — ?!??!

This story this morning via Yahoo! news via the AFP:

Dutch Police Arrest 56 Bikers Over potential Clash

Dutch police arrested 56 members of a national motorcycle club in the capital Amsterdam to prevent a possible clash with rival club Hells Angels, police said Sunday.

There were indications that members of the Satudarah biker club had travelled to Amsterdam to challenge their rivals, according to a police statement.

“A possible confrontation between Satudarah and members of the Hells Angels had to be taken in account,” the statement said.

The 56 were arrested “late last night (Saturday) for a public order disturbance. Those arrested all belong to the biker club Satudarah,” police also said.

(read the rest here)

The Satudarah (which, as far as I can tell, translates to “One Blood”) apparently has at least 10 chapters around the Netherlands.”  Who’da thunk biker gangs, let alone biker wars, were such a big deal in North-Eastern Europe?

Which brings us to the Hells Angels — who have their own Web site. (NSFW — boobies!)

Of course they do. Every schizo and his five bros* has a Web site. Why should they be any different? Clearly, the li’l devils have been busy expanding their membership. Here are some tidbits from their homepage:






Must have been one of the new chapters the Satudarah was looking to tangle with.

At this rate, the HA will have their own dental plan, 401(k) program, and lobbyists wandering the halls of Congress.

Come to think of it, a little biker justice might be just what this country needs.


*Yes, yes — this is a corruption of Bill Murray’s classic line from GHOSTBUSTERS — where it was ‘boroughs’ and not ‘bros’, but tough. Almost no one out side the Five Boroughs knows what they are, anyway.
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The Continental Shelf

This is the the world famous and luxurious Continental Palace Hotel as it appeared in downtown Saigon, circa 1975 — sometime before the North Vietnamese Army took over the city. The picture was lifted from a now defunct Web site which dated the image from 1975, so I have to take their word for it. By the looks of the VW Beetle taxi, the date is close. Or close enough.

From 1951 to 1953, the bar in the Continental was where Graham Greene wrote THE QUIET AMERICAN, a novel presaging the US’s well-intentioned bumblings in Vietnam, which had him in trouble with the Feds for the rest of his life. It was this same hotel and bar where Hunter spent his days in Vietnam: trying to sleep in Room #37, drinking with the US press corps, and not writing what was supposed to be “Fear and Loathing and the Last Days of Saigon.”

Most, if not all, of the time Doc languished in Indo-China was captured on audio tape — only some of which made it to Disc 5 of THE GONZO TAPES. This collection has been a true mine of information . . .  esoteric bits of life and syntax that never made it into the published works or any of the biographies.

On one of the Saigon tracks, Hunter has flown to Hong Kong for some reason (possibly because his tape recorder broke and he needed a new one) and is catching up on notes. In his ramblings is mention of a drink he often has at the Continental’s bar: gin, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and lime juice.

Being a gin drinker, this sounded to me like an instant winner. And it is. Gold medal, baby, all the way.

As there was no proper recipe or moniker for this glass of magic, neither from Hunter or anywhere on the Interwebs, I now formally bestow upon it the name of the hotel bar. Henceforth and forever it will be known as “The Continental Shelf.”

So let it be written. So let it be done.



Fill a 12 oz. glass with ice cubes. Pour in:

2 oz. gin

Top with fresh orange juice, leaving room enough for the squeezings of half a lime. Pour into a shaker. Shake once. Gently pour back into glass. If there is room, add more ice. Toast your friends. Drink. Repeat. Repeat again.

You’ll never know what hit you . . .

(Special thanks to The Other Brad for being a willing test subject and for the use of the juice machine. Mahalo.)


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