Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodbye, Bear

Chemist of the Stratosphere, Owsley Stanley, inventor of the Stealie (without which I would have no blog logo!) has died. I can personally attest that his infamous product rocked the house, featuring (borrowing a line from Hunter Thompson) "the Universal Symphony with God singing solo and the Holy Ghost on drums"... he was also the actual "Dancing Bear" in Grateful Dead iconography, for those who didn't know. He was the subject of the Steely Dan song, Kid Charlemagne. (I wrote about him in part, here.) He died in a car crash, of all things.

Rest in peace, Bear. There is a special place in heaven with your name on it, where the music never stops.


The near-total blackout of TV-coverage about Saturday's big rally here in South Carolina has depressed me. If a thousand people rally and nobody covers it, did it make a noise?

Wait, what am I saying, near-total? I think it was, in fact, total. The print media covered the rally in a somewhat cursory fashion, and at least one TV-station announced the rally in advance. There was some sporadic coverage, which I suppose is better than none. But several of us agreed that we saw NO TV-cameras at all, throughout the event.

I noted that there were a few radio-reporters present, God bless them. In particular, I saw hip-hop radio stations and black Gospel radio stations... are these the only two factions left in the state who will people tell the truth?



My sincere apologies for lack of brilliance. I have simply had NO TIME to write or even get my laundry done. And my Farmville crops keep dying! :( But I must admit, I love that T-shirt at the HOT TOPIC, Nobody Cares About Your Farm, and feel strangely compelled to buy it.

I hope to provide some pithy commentary by the weekend, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here is a very cool song about a great chemist. :)

Kid Charlemagne - Steely Dan


JoJo said...

I had no idea Kid Charlemagne was about Bear!!! I saw the RIP stuff come up on Facebook from various Deadhead friends the other day and couldn't believe it. I've always loved the Dancing Bear logo and I have one inked on my ankle. RIP Bear.

D. said...

Huh. Not only did I not know that about "Kid Charlemagne," I didn't know about the Dancing Bear.

And thanks for the link to the Hofmann article, which was (ahem) Before My Time here. That's fascinating (I am not a chemist!) that subsequent acid manufacturers have not been "finishing the job," where "fascinating" means "upgefukkt."

TV apparently does not report on anything that does not involve blood or death. I don't know what really rouses people short of "They're beating your cousin Henry!" The people in Wisconsin got galvanized. What it takes for that to happen in SC...you'd know better than I would.

Ann O'Dyne said...

RIP Mr Stanley.
I loved him for his statement about knowing what dogs were thinking.


I met him, did his drugs and he used to send me new stuff in brownies.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most interesting coverage of the Moral Budget Rally, it was specifically mentioned on Radio Havana (english)... Don't know if this is positive or negative (I guess it depends on your politics) But still very interesting...

Dave Dubya said...

I have the Original Dancing Bear to thank for that special "sunshine" in my life, too.

Amazing guy.

sheila said...

I thought of you when I heard about his death. This is a great post, I'd never heard of that awesome bear!

Blue Heron said...

Owsley also came up with the idea for the thirteen point lightning bolt used on Steal Your Face from some arcane occultist tome.

I knew him, very bright and scary guy, almost a primitive on some levels. Not to speak ill of the dead but he would cruise the hotel hallways when we were touring and people repeatedly saw him take food off of people's "post mortem" room service trays. But hey viva le difference. I was privileged to be at the Wall of Sound show at the Cow Palace in 1974 and felt his sonic artistry first hand, the penultimate in Dead sound but too expensive to tour with.

For what it is worth, the last time I saw him he told me that I was trying to play poker at a pinochle game, whatever that means?

He had long stopped his chemistry experiments when I jumped on board so I missed the Clear Light but did get to try the Brotherhood's sunshine. Much too strong, three day excursion, at least 500 mgs...

Still feeling the effects, 40 years later.