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February 21, 2005

Former Woodsox Hunter Thompson Kills Himself

Hunter S. Thompson Hunter Stockton Thompson, icon of the so-called "new journalism", shot himself yesterday in an apparent suicide. He was 67. Thompson shot himself at his home, Owl Farm, located approximately ten miles from Aspen, Colorado. Thompson was born July 18, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky. He received celebrity as a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine and as an author of books, notably Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Thompson joined the Cosmic Baseball Association when he became an original member of the Psychedelphia Woodstockings, CBA's team of personalities from the counter-culture, in 1983. He was deactivated in 1987 and then re-activated in 1994 by the Woodsox. He was deactivated a second time by the Woodsox in 1998.

Hunter Thompson Link

A Day with Hunter S. Thompson
by Howard Park

Note: This article was originally posted to the Subterraneans mailing list on 2/21/2005 and is printed here with permission.
In early April of 1984 I was the coolest guy in Madison, Wisconsin for a day. I was the designated driver for the legendary Hunter S. Thompson. Cool was cool, but not quite as cool as I had imagined.

Thompson came to Madison to be around for a visit by his old buddy from the McGovern Campaign, Colorado Senator Gary Hart who was locked in a fierce battle for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. I met Thompson at Madison's compact airport along with his friend, another McGovern Campaign veteran, then State Banking Commissioner Bill Dixon, a six pack of cold beer and Dixon's convertible.

This was a reward. I had been working tirelessly for Hart all over the country. My credit card was beyond maxed out. I was a Gonzo campaigner. Thompson was a legend to me and everyone I knew -- virtually every early twentysomething University of Wisconsin male student seemed to idolize Thompson. He epitomized sex, drugs and rock n' roll. He was also a damn good writer. Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail - 1972 are still scattered in dorm rooms and fraternity houses everywhere. I had religiously read all of his books and his now infrequent Rolling Stone columns.

In the flesh Thompson was a minor letdown. I never saw him without a dorky looking floppy hat, like that worn by Bob Denver on the Gilligan's Island TV show. Perhaps he was vain about his balding head. The hat also let him move about without being recognized very often. He chain smoked cigarettes and drank like a sailor on leave. The Hunter S. Thompson of myth supposedly did LSD, pot, cocaine, uppers and downers like a kid eating Halloween candy...maybe, but not with me. I never saw him take anything stronger than sprain. He was outfitted with more stuff than a more regular person would take on an African safari. He had what seemed like a ton of baggage, including a heavy, bulky word processor that I lugged all over town during the next day. He never touched it. I've never, ever seen anyone who brought as much stuff for a one day visit.

Most disappointing for me was the fact that he was sort of hard to talk with. He just did not converse like most people. Thompson might totally ignore something I said while responding nonsensically to something else. Occasionally he seemed to twitch oddly. Hunter also never spoke in anything that resembled a sentence. He was friendly enough and we got along fine as I drove him around Madison over that evening and the next day. We shared our views about Richard Nixon. Thompson's hatred of Nixon was one of the coolest parts of his persona. I had the impression that if I had said something nice about Nixon the he would have gotten out of the car on a random Madison street corner. Fortunately, my disdain for Nixon was well developed. I had been warned not to bring up the Doonesbury comic strip, then the most popular comic strip in the country and the genesis of much of the Thompson legend. He hated the comic strip.

The purpose of the visit was for Thompson to cover a big Gary Hart rally at Wisconsin's majestic state capitol a few days before our state's presidential primary (Hart won). My job was to get Hunter where he needed to go without distracting the national media or the crowd from the candidate. I failed, although it seemed a lot worse that it really was at the time.

I was driving Thompson about midway in a Hart motorcade of eight vehicles. Behind me was most of the national press corps who was covering Hart. In any campaign, the media are the VIP's. The advance man who had choreographed the event had emphatically instructed me to stick with the motorcade at all times until we reached a designated parking lot. It was vitally important that the media be in a certain exact location at a certain time.

As we approached the Capitol Building, with little or no warning, Hunter S. Thompson screamed at me "GET OVER THERE, THEY ARE COMING TO GET US, TURN NOW!!" and he grabbed the wheel from me. I had no idea what he was talking about or what was happening, but I turned as he was imploring me, and he said something like "GOOD BOY, I HOPE WE ARE SAFE NOW" as he bounded out the door to cover the rally. Everyone was confused including the 50 or so reporters on various vehicles behind me. We were now parked in the wrong space, perhaps that reserved for TV transmission trucks. It was a logistical mess in the midst of a huge crowd of over 10,000.

The only person who was not confused was the advance man who screamed "I"M GOING TO KILL YOU, YOU HAVE RUNIED EVERYTHING" as he raised his hand with only his middle finger showing into my face. Fearing for my safety from yet another lunatic I quickly scurried over to Hunter, perhaps my one last friend on the scene. The rally was great. After it was over I drove Thompson and his six huge duffel bags back to the airport and helped load the cargo on to the campaign press plane. For weeks after I eagerly awaited the arrival of each new issue of Rolling Stone hoping that he would write something about Hart and that smart, very cool campaign worker who schlepped him around that historic (in my dreams) day in Madison. No dice. To my eternal disappointment he never wrote a thing about that day or much at all about the Hart Campaign, despite the fact that I had carried around his word processor like a Sherpa in Nepal.

Years later he appeared at a book signing in Washington, DC, as always smoking a cigarette with a huge tumbler of iced, single malt scotch. During my allotted 15 seconds with him in the long line I asked Hunter what had caused him to divert the motorcade that day. I explained the context. I'm not sure he remembered anything and he responded with some sort of nonsense like, "Oh yes, we had to get away from them"...whatever.

I'll miss Hunter S. Thompson, the campaign trail will never be the same.


Hunter S. Thompson's Official Cosmic Batting Record

Hunter Thompson Link


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February 19, 2005

Ginsberg Replaces Orlovsky with Richcreek

Link to Patricia Richcreek Harrison Information In a stunning turn of events, Dharma Beats team owner, Allen Ginsberg has fired field manager Peter Orlovsky and replaced him with Patricia Richcreek. The development came out of left field, no one expected it, and there weren't any rumors. Nobody even hinted that Orlovsky's job was in jeopardy.

Orlovsky took over field management, replacing poet Robert Kelly, for the 2002 season. He survived a disastrous second season in 2003 when the Beats bottomed out with a 69-83 record. Last year the Beats had a winning season (88-74) and ended up six games out of first place. So something must have happened during this off season. And, likely, whatever did happen, happened very recently. Peter Orlovsky, like his brother Lafcadio, was also a cosmic baseball player in the 1980s. Peter played the outfield for the Beats during the 1983-1985 and 1987 seasons. He compiled a .260 career batting average with 41 home runs. It is not clear from Ginsberg's announcement what Orlovsky's relationship with the team will be or even if there will be a relationship.

Just as startling as Orlovsky's dismissal is Richcreek's appointment. Patricia Wilhoite Richcreek was born December 6, 1921. She brushed up against the early members of the Beat Generation while attending Barnard College in New York during the mid-1940s. She knew Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, David Kammerer and others. However, she didn't meet Ginsberg until February 9, 1968. This was just after the publication of Jack Kerouac's last novel, The Vanity of Link to David Kammerer Cosmic Player PlateDuluoz. In that novel, Kerouac recounts the story of David Kammerer's death at the hands of Lucien Carr. The spin on that event has always been that Carr was being stalked by Kammerer and that Carr stabbed him to death on the night of August 14, 1944 because the older Kammerer was making unwanted sexual advances. Richcreek believes that it was Kammerer, not Carr, who provided the original inspiration for the group of young men who became the Beat Generation. In 1976 Richcreek wrote, "Long before the word guru became part of American subculture cant, David, exiled from conventional teaching, was serving as a guru to a whole nucleus of people." The myth that Kammerer was a sexual predator was contrived by Carr's legal defense team. Carr ended up being convicted on a manslaughter charge and spent two years at the Elmira Reformatory in New York.

Richcreek, later known as Patricia Goode (her stepfather's name) and then by her first married name, Healy, and then by another married name, Harrison, had six children according to reviewed internet records. One of her sons, James, maintains a website which includes information about his mother. She died August 31, 1999.

Richcreek's baseball credentials are as unknown as Ginsberg's reasons for selecting her to manager his cosmic baseball team.




February 14, 2005

Personal Cosmic Game: Bad Girls Defeat Boys

Link to Game Report This year's Valentine's Day Game examines the recently popularized cases of women seducing young under-age boys. The recent cases involving attractive seductresses disguised as teachers have caught the nation's attention. Nine accused or convicted women meet a team made up mostly of characters from William Golding's allegorical novel Lord of the Flies. Supplementing the Boys are Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye and Mick Travis from the novel If.

The Boys took a whooping from the Bad Girls. Twelve (12) runs and twenty-two (22) hits by the Bad Girls pretty well kept the Boys down and out. Accused Florida female predator, Debra Lafave, a rookie on the CBA's 2005 Vestal Virgins pitched a strong game and came away with the Most Cosmic Player award. Every one of the Bad girls had at least one hit and Julie Feil, 32, the Minnesota teacher who had an affair with a student in 1998, was five-for-five with five runs scored.


Link to Game Report




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February 6, 2005

Shamil Basayev Rumored to be Dead

Shamil Basayev

Former computer salesman, Shamil Basayev, who pitched for one season in the Cosmic Baseball Association is, once again, rumored to be dead. Basayev is primarily known as a militant fighter for Chechen independence. Reports vary as to the cause of his death. According to one report, he was killed in an "incidental" shootout in January between Chechen and Arab mercenaries. Reports coming out of Azerbaijan say Basayev was killed in one of the never-ending battles with Russian federal troops. According to Deputy Chairman of the State Security Service of Abkhazia, Yuri Ashuba, there is another version about Basayev's death: Chechnya's leading guerilla warrior supposedly died of a chronic kidney disease.

But Basayev's obituary has been written before. In May, 2002 Russian General Gennady Troshev, in command of the North Caucasus military district, cited intelligence reports saying Basayev had been killed. When asked by reporters whether the warrior was really dead, Mr. Troshev said he possessed intelligence information testifying to the fact.

The UK's Channel 4 News broadcast this past Thursday (February 3, 2005) an interview with the Basayev. This action displeased the Russian government who claimed the British were supporting terrorism. The Russian government calls Basayev a terrorist and he has been characterized as Russia's Osama bin Laden. In August 2003, the United States' secretary of state, Colin Powell, called Basayev a threat to national security. But Basayev claims he does not know Osama bin Laden and that he has not received any money from him.

Although Basayev was not physically present during the September 2004 Beslan school massacre he has claimed responsibility. A statement from Basayev made the following claims, according to Russian news reports:

"The group Riyadus-Salikhin has conducted a series of successful operations on the territory of Russia. The explosions on the Kashirskoye Highway and near the Rizhskaya metro station were organized by the Moscow regional division of Shakhids. The two air crashes were organized by the special operations department. The operation Nord-West in the town of Beslan was carried out by the second battalion of Shakhids, under the command of Colonel Orstkhoev."
On September 9, in the wake of the Beslan tragedy, the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) announced the reward of 300 million rubles (over $10 million) for Basayev's head. In the interview with Channel 4 Basayev expressed regret for the hundreds of deaths at Beslan, but blamed Russian forces who stormed the school for the carnage.

Basayev at the Cosmic Baseball Association

The Wonderland Warriors, CBA's team of military personalities, drafted Basayev on November 9, 1999. (This was a couple of months after Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched the 2nd Chechen War in response to Basayev's threats to create a Chechen-Dagestan Islamic Republic.) Basayev had a disappointing rookie season and the Warriors deactivated him in October, 2000. Basayev has long been considered the primary candidate to replace General George Armstrong Custer, when he retires as the Warriors' field manager.

Kavkaz Center

Cosmic Pitching Record
Season 2000 Main Plate


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February 1, 2005

Neal Cassady's Collected Letters

Link to Book Details at Amazon

Neal Cassady died on February 4, 1968. He was 42. But likely he lived the life of three men in his four decades. Cassady, like the recently departed Lucien Carr, was a Beat Generation muse. They share similar roles in the annals of Beat Generation history. Is it just coincidence that these two muses were both in jail at the same time? Cassady in 1944 was locked up at the Colorado State Reformatory for stealing cars; Carr began his two year sentence at the Elmira Reformatory in New York for the August 1944 manslaughter of David Kammerer.

Dave Moore, a Beat scholar who lives in Bristol, England and Dean of the Faculty at the Beat University has edited Neal Cassady: Collected Letters, 1944-1967. Moore has done a first-rate job of editing and annotating the collection. Cassady fans will relish the letters (and Moore's notes). Fans of things Beat will add this book to their collections. And individuals interested in understanding the Beat Generation phenomena will want to consult this book to gain insight on the man who influenced Jack Kerouac's classic novel of hip, On the Road.

The first letter in the collection is dated October 8, 1944. Cassady is writing from the reformatory to Justin Brierly, his benefactor and father-figure friend. The letter describes the daily routine of the incacerated Cassady.

Here's a typical day: Get up at 4 A.M., milk 8 cows till 6:15. Take the cows to pasture, eat at 6:45, clean cow barn from 7:15 to 9:30, then miscellaneous duties until noon, eat, grind corn or haul hay until 2:30, take a nap until 3:30, go get the cows, eat at 5 P.M., milk cows again from 6:00 to 8:30, carry milk to kitchen, go to bed at 9:30 P.M.
Cassady was the Zelig of the American counter-culture in the last half of the 20th Century. Like Allen Ginsberg he provided the link between the Beats and the political and cultural underground of the 1960s. Driving Kerouac across the United States in the late 1940s was complemented in the early 1960s when he chauffered Ken Kesey and the "Merry Pranksters" across the continent. Cassady the driver, Cassady the driven.

On September 15, 1967 Cassady writes to his old friend Lucien Carr from Mexico where he's hiding out:

Dear Lu: Hi you old fuck, how about sending me a few bucks to eat on down here?
The letters reveal a post-modern troubador, full of love and full of conflict.




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Archived: February 28, 2005
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