Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead
The visuals in this video are the point of it.
I've been feeling sad that our good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson will not be in Denver next week to share in the craziness. I sure will miss reading his take on the whole scene.
My good friend Anita Thompson, Hunter's wife, who has been spending fall and winter in NYC to attend and study journalism at Columbia, is now blogging, in addition to her excellent Owl Farm Blog, at The Huffington Post. How'd that come about? [More..]
At an Aspen Ideas festival a month or two ago, Anita told me Arianna was going to be at one of the think tank meets Anita was going to, and I said, you'll meet her easily, she's very friendly and approachable and if you feel like it, tell Arianna we are good friends. She did, they struck up a friendship, and then, you knew this would happen, Arianna asked Anita to write for HuffPo sometimes. The great thing about writing for HuffPo is they don't demand exclusives. In other words, after a six or eight hour time period, you're free to post your stuff on your own blog. Or, the other way around. If you write something you think is really good on your blog, you can cross-post it to HuffPo.
So, for the past few weeks, Anita's been writing some stuff for HuffPo. Here's her latest one, about an John McCain event in Aspen event she attend this week. Due to the way McCain conducted himself, she now refers to him as McSlick.
I just read it and I laughed out loud at the ending. After you read it, I'll tell you why I laughed.
Earlier (before the bizarre music for McCain's entrance began,) a lovely young girl with a badge walked up to us, and I thought, how sweet, she's going to ask if we have everything we need. No she said we must leave our chairs immediately and move to the back. Wow. A lot has changed since Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail' 72. Or has it? I wish I could just make one call to Hunter. I got the sense that most of the press also miss his voice and courage to walk past the out-of-bound lines.
I laughed because every time I call Anita the answering machine message is in Hunter's voice with a predictable Hunter message. No matter how many times I've called their home, when I hear that voice, I forget that he's dead and I want to ask him a question too.
She has has some good observations about John McCain from attending the John McCain event. The first is that she's dubbed him "McSlick" rather than "McSame".
ASPEN, Colo. -- It was a Sunshiny day indeed at the Aspen Institute with Senator John McCain supporters crawling out of their hummers and Range Rovers to hear his speech and fundraising quotes. I live..
I've said that my late husband Hunter S. Thompson, was a teenage girl trapped in the body of an elderly dope fiend, and His Holiness is a teenage girl trapped in the body of a Dalai Lama. What I saw Thursday is that John McCain is not a "creepy old white-haired guy" at all. He's simply a slick politician trapped in the body of a politician.
Yesterday was different from the other Institute speeches because I had a press badge instead of a ticket, and I came to hear this Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services (and yes, he's also the presumptive Republican Nominee) talk about how he might handle this Russian Crisis. My little sister and father live in Kiev, and my mother's side living throughout Poland, so I'm more than a little stressed.
But Thursday's deal, which has been in the works for 18 months (a clue that the CIA HAS been paying attention) with Poland that American soldiers will staff air defense sites in Poland oriented toward Russia, and that the United States would be obliged to defend Poland in case of an attack with greater speed than what is required under NATO, of which Poland is a member. This is more than simply a missile purchasing deal (that Joe Circincione really dislikes).
McCain was quick to say that yes, this is the "greatest military tragedy since the Cold War" and said it a little less accusatorily than his last gaffe inadvertently accusing the Russian's of doing exactly what we did to Iraq: "Invade an innocent country."
He was far more slick and laid back than normal, according to some of his press core that I was sitting with. This is the first time I've seen him in person. The reason for his mcSuavo attitude is simple. Aspen is one of the richest tiny communities on the planet, and if you have 160 "bundlers" in your audience (supporters who have solicited donations for McCain's campaign directly (up to $2,300 apiece) and to the Republican Party and friendly political action committees (up to $28,500 apiece), you tend to show your relaxed inner self (yep, the slick politician trapped in the body of a politician.)
When Walter Isaacson pressed him on what should be done about this crisis, such as expelling Russia from the G8 or speed up the process of making Georgia a member of NATO, the senator gushed about Georgia being a "brave little country ... the first to convert to Christianity ... " Gee Wiz. That's what a suave politician says when he's just accidentally likened ourselves to Russia re: invading other countries. We certainly can't say that Iraq or Afghanistan were the first to convert to Christianity!
Isaacson pressed him on some other important questions such as McCain's comments that the recent Supreme Court declaring a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that denied federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions from the detainees seeking to challenge their status. McCain went into Suave-mode again, going on about talking to a high ranking Al Qaeda member who said it was Abu Ghraib that made Al Queda able to recruit 20,000+ men.
Isaacson interrupted him with "You said this Supreme Court decision was the worst in history!" McCain responded with "Na, na, na," put his head down an laughed and said something like, I sometimes get roused up ..." applause and huge laughter.
He continued, Oh ya, I know the "Supreme Court Justices are supposed to be up in the clouds, unaffected by political situations" more laughter, then he continued, "Hey, the Court voiced frustration that we haven't moved forward" (on these torture issues).
Then they turned to campaign talk.
Because Thursday was the 73rd birthday of Social Security, Isaacson did ask him why not treat Social Security Investment like Energy investment, by putting everything on the table to consider.
McCain said yes. But when the topic of tax increases for Social Security comes up. No Way. Isaacson comes back with a "but that's not putting everything on the table." McSlick replies with "I can't be for tax increases." Silence.
Anita is also the Publisher and Editor of the Woody Creeker Magazine. She'll be bringing many copies to the Convention, so look for one. It has awesome cover art from Ralph Steadman and many articles from politicos, including Gary Hart and others. If I can find time to write one by Monday, I'll have a contribution for it too.
Anita will be staying with me during the convention. She's got a TalkLeft pass to the Big Tent facility for bloggers. We'll be attending the George McGovern event together and some other things. I'm hoping I can get her to write for TalkLeft during the convention, and if she does, she'll be front-paged here at TalkLeft for the week. You can expect her posts to both express her thoughts on the Convention and include quotes from appropriate writings of Hunter, just like she does on her Owl Farm Blog.
So check out Owl Farm, her HuffPo articles and whatever she writes on TalkLeft. When the convention is over, we'll be heading up to Owl Farm for the Aspen-Snowmass Labor Day Jazz Fest. Bob Dylan is headlined Saturday night. It will be my first trip out of Denver since June, when I also went to Owl Farm, and I'm looking forward to it. The next week, Anita heads back to NY and Columbia for her final 9 months -- then she'll have her degree and be returning to Owl Farm, hopefully for many years to come.
Added: If you've never seen Hunter's infamous kitchen or Owl Farm or the Woody Creek Tavern, here's a video I made of it in 2006 when the NORML lawyers spent the afternoon there. (It was my first video ever, so please don't criticize the technical aspects. I had no idea how to shoot a video camera at the time.)
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