Amoeblog

Chet Baker

Posted by Whitmore, May 13, 2008 06:38am | Post a Comment


Twenty years ago today, May 13th, 1988, legendary west coast jazz trumpet player, silky vocalist (has anyone ever sung "My Funny Valentine" better?), and once gorgeous bad boy, Chet Baker, fell to his death in Amsterdam from his hotel room window. Of course, there has been a wide variety of conspiracy theories and speculation regarding the odd nature of his death. Because Baker’s life was so full of mysterious and scandalous details, a life full of intrigue and questions, why shouldn’t his death have a similar story line? I guess there is a possibility of some vendetta at play here-- at least once before in the mid 1960’s he had his teeth knocked out over a drug deal gone awry, why couldn’t another drug dealer, years later, just shove the poor son of a bitch out a window? Well, there were no signs of a struggle in his hotel room and the door was locked from the inside. Then could it have been suicide? Doubtful-- there wasn’t a note, and any person determined to kill themselves probably would have rented a room higher than two stories above the sidewalk. Sadly, Chet's death was an odd, common place accident; it’s just one of those way people accidentally meet their maker. Chet Baker simply fell out of a window. There was heroin in his system, and a considerable amount of cocaine and heroin in his room. He probably went to open the window, and simply leaned a little too far west, and lost his balance. Anyway, it’s been two decades since his death. Right now I have Chet Baker Sings on the turntable; I’m sipping some good Catholic Irish whiskey, hanging out in my new abode. Everything is perfectly copasetic. Thanks.

ALBERT HOFMANN, FATHER OF LSD, IS DEAD AT AGE 102

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2008 07:51pm | Post a Comment

Earlier today (April 29th, 2008) Albert Hofmann, the Swiss born scientist best known for synthesizing Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (aka LSD), died of a heart attack. He was 102 years old.  Two years ago in 2006, coinciding with his hundredth birthday, there was an international symposium (see clip below) -- with a good deal of publicity surrounding it at the time -- on his mind altering creation.

In addition to synthesizing LSD in 1938, Hoffman, known as the "Father of LSD," was also the first to synthesize psilocybin -- the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms' in 1958.  He was also the author of several books including The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogen and  LSD: My Problem Child. Additionally he wrote in excess of a hundred scientific articles.

Born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906, Hofmann graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. This involved years of laboratory research which led him on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.  This led his research to spend a few years working his way through the lysergic acid derivatives. He eventually arrived at synthesizing LSD-25 in 1938.

According to sources after minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as Hofmann continued with other derivatives, only four years later in 1943, re-synthesizing LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. And on that day in April of 1943 he was the very first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a tiny amount of the mind-altering drug. Although he stopped working in research several years ago, Hofmann continued to write and work as lecturer and spokesman on psychedelics right up until the time of his death.

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REMEMBERING LORD BUCKLEY 1906 - 1960

Posted by Whitmore, April 7, 2008 09:45am | Post a Comment


Here’s the deal. As it was happening -- nothing happened, and when it happened it wasn’t happening anymore – I have to knock out this note before the day wiggles away. Lately, living has been bent from the front, so next go round I’m pinning this date on my wall, whip it around my prehensile wits; flip the switch that says stick. So done, so be it, now shout yeah! All the what’s and who’s and why’s jump out from everywhere and serenade the guru of gone! Happy Birthday! Belated or not, to the original gasser, the original hipster saint, the most far-out cat that ever stomped on this Sweet Green Sphere, who’s wailin', groovy hipsemantic orations tramped through the wiggage in our graciously affluent playground: the wordland we call the English language! The man, the years, the most flip embodiment of a life lived cool … none other than His Majesty, His Hipness, Lord Buckley! Birthday 102 …and though he found “the theme of the beam of the invisible edge” back in ‘60, they’re still digging his scrabble and his mad heart, looting strange truths from the head, all truths, even the feral truths, scribbling, splattering jive laid down to his bop ... as his Royal Flipness’ once said - “they supersede and carry on beyond the parallel of your practiced credulity.”

Though Lord Buckley is known for his "hip-semantic" interpretation of history, literature, and culture, sporting a waxed mustache, dressed to the nines and expounding on life in the manner befit of British aristocracy, intoned by way of Jazz riffs versed by hemp-headed hepcats, Lord Buckley was actually born in a coal-mining town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada on an Indian reservation in Tuolumne, California, in 1906. Richard Myrle Buckley worked as a lumberjack as a kid and entered the world of showbiz by way of the medicine, carnival, and tent show circuit, eventually gigging in the speakeasies of Chicago during the 1920s, emceeing dance marathons and vaudeville shows, even playing on Broadway during the Depression. By the 1940’s he was working steadily in Jazz clubs, befriending many of the greatest musicians of the era. During the Second World War Buckley toured with the USO Shows and became close friends with, of all people, Ed Sullivan. By the 1950’s the unclassifiable Lord Buckley was cast as a comedian, his humor combined his incredible detailed knowledge of the language and culture; his true hepcat persona became one part stump preacher, one part raconteur, another part grifter and huckster, producing one of the strangest comedic personas ever invented.

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TIME MARCHES ON

Posted by Whitmore, March 8, 2008 11:42pm | Post a Comment

March 1 - Johnny Cash, 36 years of age, marries June Carter, 38 years of age.
March 2 - World Ladies Figure Skating Championship in Geneva is won by USA’s Peggy Fleming.
March 3 - Greece, Portugal & Spain's embassies are bombed in the Hague.
March 4 - Evan Dando of the Lemonheads is born.
March 4 - Joe Frazier TKOs Buster Mathis in 11 rounds for heavyweight boxing title.
March 4 - Martin Luther King, Jr announces plans for Poor People's Campaign.
March 5 - U.S. launches Solar Explorer B, also known as Explorer 37 from Wallops Island to study the Sun.
March 6 - Actress Moira Kelly is born.
March 7 - Jeff Kent, second baseman for the Dodgers is born in Bellflower, CA.
March 7 - The First Battle of Saigon begins in Viet Nam.
March 8 - Bill Graham opens the Fillmore East in an abandoned movie theater in New York City.
March 10 - A Ferry boat sinks in the harbor of Wellington New Zealand killing 200.
March 11 - Lisa Loeb is born.
March 11 - Dmitri Shostakovich completes his 12th string quartet, in D flat major (Op. 133).
March 11 - Otis Redding posthumously receives a gold record for "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay."
March 12 - Mauritius achieves independence from British Rule.
March 12 - President Lyndon B. Johnson edges out antiwar candidate Eugene J. McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, a vote which highlights the deep divisions over Vietnam War in the U.S.
March 13 - The Beatles release the single "Lady Madonna" in the UK.
March 14 - Nerve gas leaks from the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground near Skull Valley, Utah. Sickening sheep on local ranches coincided with several open-air tests of the extremely toxic nerve agent VX at Dugway. The Army, which initially denied that VX had caused the deaths, never admitted liability, though they did pay the ranchers for their losses. On the official record, the claim was for 4,372 "disabled" sheep, of which about 2,150 died. 
March 14 - CBS TV suspends Radio Free Europe free advertising because RFE doesn't make it clear it is sponsored by the CIA.
March 15 - Diocese of Rome announces that it "deplored the concept", but wouldn't prohibit rock & roll masses at the Church of San Lessio Falconieri.
March 15 - LIFE magazine, in an article, calls Jimi Hendrix "the most spectacular guitarist in the world."
March 16 - In My Lai, South Vietnam, American troops massacre between 350 and 500 unarmed Vietnamese villagers - men, women, and children.
March 16 - General Motors releases its 100 millionth automobile, the Oldsmobile Toronado.
March 16 - Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco dies at the age of 73.
March 16 - Democratic Senator from New York, Robert F. Kennedy announces he’ll run for the Presidency.
March 17 - A demonstration in London's Grosvenor Square against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War leads to violence - 91 police injured, 200 demonstrators arrested.
March 18 - The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.
March 19-March 23 - Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., seize the administration building and stage a five-day sit-in, shutting down the university in protest over its ROTC program, and demanding a more Afro-centric curriculum.
March 20 - Carl Theodor Dreyer, Danish director of The Passion of Jeanne d'Arc (1928) and The Vampire (1932), dies of pneumonia in Copenhagen at age 79.
March 22 - Daniel Cohn-Bendit and seven other students occupy Administrative offices of Nanterre, leading to the closure of the University on May 2, which in turn helped move the protests to downtown Paris where the May 1968 Student Riots launch France into a deep state of chaos.
March 23- Edwin O'Connor, American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner dies.
March 23 – UCLA beats North Carolina 78-55 in the 30th Annual NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
March 24 - Alice Guy-Blaché, pioneering filmmaker who was the first female director in the motion picture industry dies at the age of 94.
March 25 - The 58th and final new episode of The Monkees airs on NBC.
March 26 – Country singer Kenny Chesney is born.
March 26 – R&B artist Little Willie John, he sang the original version of "Fever" and "Talk to Me," dies at Walla Walla State Prison in Washington. He had been imprisoned for stabbing a man to death in October 1964. The official cause of death is listed as a heart attack, though some reports say he died of pneumonia or asphyxiation.
March 27 - Yuri Gagarin, Soviet Cosmonaut and first human in space, dies in aircraft training accident.
March 29 - Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress best known for her role as Xena is born.
March 29 - Students at Bowie State College seize the administration building to protest the run-down condition of their campus, at a time when Maryland essentially ran separate college systems for black and white students. Instead of negotiating, Governor Spiro Agnew sent the state police in to take back the administration building.
March 30 -The Yardbirds record their live album at the Anderson Theater in New York City. Though at first it was shelved by the band, once Led Zeppelin hit big, Epic Records tried to cash in by releasing the material as the bootleg Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page. It was quickly withdrawn after Page's lawyers filed an injunction on the record.
March 30 - Celine Dion is born.
March 30 - Bobby Driscoll, Academy Award winning child actor, dies from a heart attack brought on by liver failure and advanced arteriosclerosis due to his long-time drug abuse at the age of 31. Believed to be an unclaimed and homeless person, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave on Hart Island where he still remains today.
March 31 - Seattle's first Major League Baseball team is named the Pilots.
March 31 - President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.

BLOG BLOG BLOG, BLAH BLAH BLAH, TV TV TV, KILL KILL KILL

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2008 02:54pm | Post a Comment

While actual numbers and statistics vary greatly depending on where you get your information, according to one World Live Web data source  Technorati there are currently in excess of 112 million blogs with the estimated number of blogs worldwide doubling every six months. That's a lot of blogs out there to read! 

But when will this current cultural obsession with web-logging or blogging end or slow down? Answer: never. It's only going to get more ubiquitous as time evolves with more and more voices opining on every fickle thought that pops into their collective craniums, and entering the infinite blogosphere by the minute, nay second.

The only thing that is going to change (that has already begun to change, especially in the past two years) is that the amount of blog readers (per blog) will shrink in numbers since there are simply only so many readers to go around for all those blogs. I predict it will be soon one reader to every blog. 

But for now it is more than one reader per blog - but not much more - and so I am most grateful to both of you for reading this far on this Amoeblog (hi Mom, hi you).  But I digress,  Hey, did you see that clip of (Amoeba Music fan) Kanye West with Daft Punk on the Grammys? It and Amy Winehouse's satellite fed performance were the highlights of an otherwise dull broadcast that tried too hard to be all things to all demographics.

Speaking of TV watching, with the writer's strike finally coming to an end the average person's life will be enriched by not having to watch so many re-runs and reality shows, as they had to during the strike. But why, I ask, didn't the average adult (who watches approx 5 hours of television everyday) not think outside the box (pun intended) and consider other alternatives to TV watching such as picking up a book to read,  listening to an album, chatting with family members or friends, playing a game of chess, taking a walk, or other activities? Why? Coz they're all hooked on the drug.  Because TV is the biggest drug there is.

As Michael Franti so famously noted in the old Beatnigs & Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy song "Television" (see/hear below) television is "the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation." For proof check the results of a recent UK survey of 2000 men were asked if they would give up sex for six months in exchange for a 50 inch plasma TV.  Without much consideration 47% said they would.

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