Taking the Temperature

After a weekend of intensive WMUR watching (mostly for the weather which has been terrible) I’d like to report that campaign season finally seems to be getting underway.

Last time I was here, in October, lots of personal appearances, not much coin. Now Steyer and Gabbard of course, but also Buttigieg, Warren, and Sanders. The two different Sanders ads I saw were well produced, on point, and looong. Each presented the two pieces of messaging that Pundits are saying is driving the electorate- Depose the Illegitimately and Illegally Elected Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio before he kills us all and here’s my kitchen table program. Sanders put program first in the second ad which I recognized as probably deliberate.

Warren matches Sanders in the program department but the one ad I saw a few times was all program and no attack.

Bloomberg and Steyer, the real Billionaires, both have nothing much but that Depose point. Bloomberg could blow an astronomical amount of money. Bloomberg makes $10 Billion a year. It is 2.8 Billion miles from Neptune to the Sun. Do the math.

And the rest?

Buttigieg’s message is- “I’m really safe. Just like everybody else except I’m an outsider.” I found it vapid and confusing.

Uncle Joe? What about him?

Andy Yang is wacky and poorly produced but draws the crowds, could surprise- youth vote is huge and they’re very excited.

Think I saw one ad for Booker but I might be misremembering news coverage. Lots of that. Candidates everywhere you look it’s hard to avoid tripping over them though I always try, don’t like crowd scenes and it’s not the natives, they’re very cynical and cool, it’s the gaggle.

When I got here it was a little too late and dark (it’s verydark, starting at around 4 pm) to consider cooking so I went to the local (meaning only 20 miles) hoping to lick some grease and maybe 1 screen that would have the Bruins on it (Celtics, always the Celtics).

Now at the cross road that leads to my particular middle of nowhere there is a Breakfast/Lunch place with a “Country Store” attached. That means a converted Shed with some shelving from 1962 and linoleum of equal vintage stocked by the same vendors that work the Gas Station/Convenience Store circuit the Circle K is on, but at a much higher price because they don’t have the corporate volume you see, being Mom and Pop independents like they are. Live Free Or Die!

I’d almost feel sorry for them except they have this tacky sign at the intersection, one of those backlit white plastic black letters on tracks with the whole thing and a generator mounted on a boat trailer, you know the type. The plastic is cracked from exposure and it’s misspelled because the letters keep falling out.

It has a Flag decal in each upper corner They post helpful messages like “LIBTURD SEASON, LICENSES HERE” and “RETROACTIVE ABORTION FOR BABY KILLERS”.

New Hampshire is that kind of place too.

There was a short wait for a table and I got parked next to a Flannel Shirt wearing Hunter Vested MAGA Hat. I got very quiet and listened to my companion a lot. When our appetizer arrived I could hardly look at it and when the main arrived we simply asked for boxes and left. It was a long drive and a lot of stress. I was dehydrated. Did I mention the weather?

Don’t get me wrong. New Hampshire, my part of it, is a place you go to get away and it’s very effective because your communications are limited. I’ve been iced in for 2 days.

Nonetheless I shall brave the conditions like Scott and Rasmussen and other Polar Explorers (In fairness they didn’t have jungles and headhunters to worry about. It’s Deer Season and when they tell you to wear your safety vest they mean it.). Some time in January I’ll be back to kill John Connor get a late read on the 1971 Mint 400.

It’s entirely possible sanity saving mind erasure will require a serious Ether binge. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. I am arranging for Medical attention and Lawyers just in case. Wish me luck.

It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights — or very early mornings — when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour… booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turnoff to take when I got to the other end… but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: no doubt at all about that…

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda… You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.


Travel day. Things might easily suck more than usual.

“I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive…” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?”

What are you talking about?

No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.