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September 29, 2006

Frozen Elk Heart and The Long Gray Line

Hi.  Thanks for the emails!

Today’s wisdom comes from a story Hunter wrote about how he left an elk heart on his friend Jack Nicholson’s door step.  Actually, he leaned it up against the door after a series of bizarre acrobatics in Jack’s driveway at midnight sometime in the early 90s that terrified the entire family to the point that they had barricaded themselves in the basement with only a fireplace poker as a weapon.  Hunter had no idea that he had scared them, in fact he thought he was being snubbed because they wouldn’t answer the door. 

So he went home and continued with the usual business of the day.  Some of which included receiving random faxes  like “the usual messages from the White House, two dangerously bogus offers from Hollywood, and a 60-page, single-spaced transcript of General Douglas MacArthur’s final address to The Long Gray Line of steely-eyed cadets on The Plain at West Point in the spring of 1962, and another 39 pages of his ‘Old Soldiers Never Die’ speech to Congress after he’d been fired.”

These things spew into my house day after day, and I do my best to analyze them.  Different people want different things in this world, and you have to be careful about taking risks. Hungry people have the cunning of wild beasts.  A thing that seemed strange and wrong yesterday can seem perfectly reasonable tomorrow, or visa versa.

–Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear.

Now, that’s good wisdom.

Until Next time, your friend (still buried in books),

Anita Thompson

P.S. Everything worked out for the Nicholsons in the end.  The next day, when the police were investigating the elk heart, Jack remembered that Hunter had previously shown him a fozen elk heart from his freezer.  Jack told the officers to end the manhunt; he knew who the culprit was.  This past year, I spent X-mas dinner with Jack & his beautiful family and I did give them the last Elk Heart — still frozen and wrapped in a gonzo bag.  He looked at it and gave me a bright and shining grin.


September 28, 2006

Thanks Guys

Thanks guys!  Yes, I turned 29 yesterday.

Also, thank you to the New Order;  the Women of Woody Creek for sending me the package!! I started eating the chocolate immediately, posted the HST photo on the bulletin board with the rest, and ate the black-market sleeping pill.  it was great.  I miss you guys. And thanks for the four-leaf clover!

I’ll post some gonzo wisdom after class.   

love, Anita 

September 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Anita!

Happy Birthday Anita!

— from the Owl Farm Blog & GonzoStore.com staff.

September 26, 2006

Magic Hammer

Dear Jack,
Thanx for the wonderful equipment you have sent me – via George Tobia.  They scared the shit out of many cool people.  Ho ho
            Yeah, Jack – I’m “the writer” + now I want to Rachet up the element of FEAR in our experiements…

— Hunter S. Thompson in a letter to the owner of Jack’s Joke Shop.  


That is from a note that Hunter wrote to Jack’s Joke shop regarding a package that his friend George Tobia sent to him following a sort of tradition they started many years ago.  George (as you know is also Hunter’s IP lawyer and trustee) would send Hunter boxes upon boxes of … how do I describe it… not jokes, but yes, Equipment.   Not only did George and Hunter keep similar hours, but they also had the same twisted sense of fun. Here is a portion of the list that George sent to him on August 14th 2002:


Full Speed Crazy Roach

Full Speed Crazy Mouse

Rat-on-a-Leash (George noted that this one was “truly grotesque and amazing”)


Dancing Ostrich

Exploding Lighter

Exploding Pen

Exploding Bomb

Magic Hammer (this is what you hear in the background of many of Hunter’s radio interviews)

Severed Foot

Drinker’s Dice

Fake Winning Lottery Tickers

Shit List

No-tear Toilet Paper


The list goes on and on.  Hunter loved these props and they are still in use at Owl Farm.  You can read Hunter and George’s correspondence in this issue of the Woody Creeker.  Enjoy.


Your friend back in New York,

Anita Thompson


P.S. My honeymoon with New York is over.  Coming back to the sensory overload of NYC after the peaceful weekend at my home in the Rockies has really jarred my nerves.  All my personality defects and quirks have surfaced, like long lost friends.  I think that’s the case with everyone else in NYC too.  All I’m focused on, however, are my classes, but I can’t help thinking about Owl Farm.


September 23, 2006

Ralph’s Masterpiece

Dear Ralph,

…..Shit.  How can I know.  Everybody involved has lied to me about these cheap, soon-to-be Buried gossip books about random strangers’ comments on MY life – all of them with an utterly different Bias & a different set of quotes & characters — & I have already contracted with the NY Times Book Review to wait until they’re all done & then review them as a whole, for whatever kind of half-bright scum they will seem to be at the time(s) of their various publications.(s).

–Hunter S. Thompson in a letter to Ralph Steadman 1992. re: the slew of unauthorized biographies that came out in the early 90’s by people who barely knew his work.

     Ralph’s new book was waiting for me when I arrived home after driving through a blizzard from the Denver airport with my intern Laura in a tiny silver car with bald tires and finally a single chain on one tire that some nice hunters agreed to attach when we pulled off the highway in the darkness just as they were coming out of the woods from an illegal hunting trip in the Vail Mountains of the dreaded Vail Pass.  But we made it home late night, 4 hours past schedule, safe and sound.  I woke up to my beautiful Owl Farm covered with a blanket of fresh snow and still moreJoke's Over book by Ralph coming down.  I lit a huge fire in the fireplace and hunkered down with my Siamese cats and German Shepherd sleeping next to me while I began to read Ralph’s book.  Although I did feel a little guilty because I should be catching up on my homework, but…. I couldn’t help it. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a masterpiece.  It’s riveting, hilarious and extremely insightful.  You, my friends, are going to love it. 

I already knew so much about the book just from my correspondence with Ralph over email, phone, fax and mail, but this is even better than I expected.  Here’s just one part of a graph:

…[Hunter} learned the balance between living out on the edge of lunacy and apparently normal discourse with everyday events.  Whatever reaction he adopted towards a situation, whether it was giving a hell-raiser speech from the interior balconies of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco or firing a Magnum .44 at random into the night in front of strangers, he would always convince those around him that they were the ones who were mad, irrational or just plain dumb and he was behaving as a decent law-abiding citizen.

— Ralph Steadman, The Joke’s Over. 

I can’t wait for it to hit the bookstands.  You will enjoy this beautifully written book.

Doug Brinkley is flying in tonight for Donna’s memorial and I’ll let you know the status of the Letters III book which we are almost finished with.  The letter which is quoted at the top, will be in it too, as so many other’s between Hunter’s dear friend Ralph. 

Your Friend, reading by the fire,

Anita Thompson




September 21, 2006

Random Drug Wisdom on the Way to the Airport


You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.


—Hunter S. Thompson


 I’m on my way to the airport headed for Owl Farm.  I’m so happy to get home I’m beaming.

I forgot to mention last week that the woody Creekers were sent out. I’m so proud of this magazine and you’ll see why shortly.

your late friend, 

Anita Thompson 

September 18, 2006

Baby Hunter Scott

Congratulations to the Kelley family for the birth of their son whom they named after Hunter. Hunter Scott Kelley — 9lbs 12 oz!  The father said he is made to feel so proud when people remark at how strong of a name it is, and even prouder when they ask how they came to give him that name. 

My prediction is that you’ll have your hands full for well over 18 years, because that name alone must ingrain some gonzo qualities that will set him on the TRUTH-SEEKING path early on.  That’s when the trouble and the fun starts, right?  Bravo and thank you for sending the photo.  I’d like to post it as soon as I figure out how to post photos. 


With Love,

Anita Thompson 


September 16, 2006

HST in a Crowded Campus Poster Market

I sat there a long time, and thought about a lot of things.  Foremost among them was the suspicion that my strange and ungovernable instincts might do me in before I had a chance to get rich.  No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction – toward anarchy and poverty and craziness.  That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

I was pondering this during a 45 minute accidental detour on the #3 subway under the island of Manhattan, because I didn’t know that on weekends the City of NY reroutes the #3 train on the #1 line and I was already on the East Side past central park before I realized why the train seemed to be twisting, turning and moving further underground than usual.  With help from some kind locals, I fianlly made it to campus via an alternate subway route.
Sweaty and late, I was walking fast, almost to Butler Library when I saw it.  As I turned the corner around Lewison Hall, posted High and Proud was a JUMBO…HUGE…GIGANTIC poster of the cover of Fear and Loathing in
Las Vegas.   Seeing it hit me so hard that I stopped in my tracks causing two other students to bump into me like dominoes.  My husband’s book cover, perched first and center with a massive crowd of people clamoring around to buy it (along with other posters of the likes of  the Beatles, Bob Marley, Vincent Van Gogh, John Belushi, etc etc… American (or post-Impressionist) Icons)  once again made me so proud of Hunter that I stared frozen, with my mouth open while people with backpacks whizzed past me. But also during these moments, I miss him more than I have words to express.
So do you I suppose, that’s why you read this blog in addition to his books. But I’m happy to write to you at this moment while right outside this library door are tons of HST readers clamoring for a poster of one of his books.
So there you have it.
As for the random HST wisdom at the top, I posted it because I happened to be pondering it as I was stuck on the wrong subway line studying people’s faces and wondering what they were thinking.  A few months ago, a reader emailed it to me to tell me it was his favorite quote.  I think his name is Cody. Thanks man.  Anway, more random notes coming soon.
Your friend, sneaking past the crowded poster market,
Anita Thompson
P.S. Many of you might ask me who gets the money from the sale of those posters, and I’m embarrassed to say I have no idea.  Which happens to be ONE of the reasons I decided to finish school… to understand these money details, which Hunter nor I have ever been very good at.  For now, I’m just happy to see so many people wanting to hang an image of Hunter on their walls, assuming they also read his work. I’ve said many times that the world is a better place every time someone (particularly a young person) reads a Hunter S. Thompson book.  I explain why in The Gonzo Way, but any of you who have ever read anything by Hunter already know why.


September 13, 2006

1am Love Affair


Living in New York is like discovering life all over again.  In all seriousness, living here has been like waking up in an endlessly fascinating and completely different world from everything I’ve ever known…

…New York is at once an education, an initiation, and a stimulant.  It gives one a perspective, I think, that would be impossible to get anywhere else in the world.  But god have mercy on those who can live with this perspective.

–Hunter S. Thompson in 1958, Proud Highwa

So I left Columbia’s Butler Library tonight about 12:30am and was at my subway stop on Broadway by 12:45.  As I walked home, the scent of fresh bagels lured me into the H&H bagel shop. They were baking their nightly bagels… by the thousands!!  This is a nightly ritual that has been going on for decades. They’ve been rated the #1 bagel in New York year after year because their bagels are “the softest and the sweetest.”  Well, at 1 in the morning, after a long day of homework and financial stress and emails, it was a magical moment in my love affair with New York.  Wow, a fresh bagel at 1am.  Many of you may be used to this, but it’s new to me, and I’m enjoying every morsel doused with poppy seed. Mmmhmm.   I love New York. And I love Hunter for bringing me here.


As promised, here is the link of the interview Hunter did with an Australian broadcast along with Walter Cronkite 4 years ago.  There are typos, yes. I think it’s because the transcriber couldn’t totally understand Hunter who had been up all night writing a column, then did the interview at 8 am Woody Creek time.  It’s a good one though. Enjoy.


Until Next time, your friend getting high off poppy seeds,

Anita Thompson



September 11, 2006

September 11th, 2001

     At this time five years ago, Hunter had just finished a column for ESPN about Football and Jack Nicholson.  It was a fun column which he was happy with, went to bed at dawn while I stayed up to transcribe his pages, and email them to ESPN and would join him  shortly — As usual. 

     Hunter had been writing very little about Politics for the previous month since his dear friend at ESPN John called him and pleaded with him to “Please tone it down on the politics, Hunter.  The lawyers are going crazy.  They have a team of Disney lawyers who are terrified about what you’re going to write after your tyrade about Lisl Auman and your constant hammering on Bush."   Please Hunter, just for now…. do it for me…”  Since Hunter was a reasonable man and loved his friend, he vaguely complied.     

     Then, the towers were hit.  I ran to the bedroom, crawled into bed and asked him if he knew what the hell was happening to our country.  He sat up, looked at the TV for a while and just said “somebody sure didn’t like those towers."  He was silent for a long time, which made me nervous and afraid that this was indeed really bad news for the future, because he was not surprised. He didn’t even flinch.  
     ESPN had already posted the football/Nicholson column.  But after the towers were hit, and the nation was swept into panic mode, the editors from ESPN called  and asked me to PLEASE ask Hunter to write about what was happening, and yes, politics.  People needed answers, and ESPN was proud to have someone like Hunter give his insight. 

     The following is a passage from that column he wrote the same day and into the morning of Sept. 12.  It’s one of his most quoted columns because of the ominous simplicity and prescient words. No, it’s not feel-good wisdom, but it is pure HST wisdom nonetheless.

 …The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives. It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.

… We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force. Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job — armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.


OK. It is 24 hours later now, and we are not getting much information about the Five Ws of this thing. The numbers out of the Pentagon are baffling, as if Military Censorship has already been imposed on the media. It is ominous. The only news on TV comes from weeping victims and ignorant speculators. The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don’t say anything that might give aid to The Enemy.

  –Hunter S. Thompson,  Hey Rube


When I come home from class, I’ll post the interview he did with an Australian broadcasting system with Walter Cronkite a year later. But I’m late I gotta run.


Your friend,

Anita Thompson

September 07, 2006

McGovern, Nixon and Columbia University

Hi there.  I’m happy to be back in touch with you after an action packed week.  George McGovern sends his love.  He was in town for a board meeting. Seeing George of course put me in the mood for Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail… Here’s a great image of the man who was the exact opposite of the Senator:

… and it is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character almost every other country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie doll President, with his Barbie doll wife and his box-full of Barbie doll children is also America’s answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the werewolf in us; the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string-warts, on nights when the moon comes too close. . . .

At the stroke of midnight in Washington, a drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and a head of a giant hyena crawls out of its bedroom window in the South Wing of the White House and leaps fifty feet down to the lawn … pauses briefly to strangle the Chow watchdog, then races off into the darkness … towards the Watergate, snarling with lust, loping through the alleys behind Pennsylvania Avenue, and trying desperately to remember which one of those four hundred identical balconies is the one outside Martha MitcheIl’s apartment. . . .

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72



So I started my first week of classes.  Columbia is an elegant place where each class is like going to see a guest speaker — one who assigns an ungodly amount of reading — but the payoff is huge.  And yes, everywhere I turn, I’m reminded of Hunter, who walked these halls and sat in these classrooms (of course before he moved to Big Sur where he discovered guns, and before he moved to Woody Creek, where he discovered guns as a way of life –whether the gun was a 12 gauge or an IBM Selectric typewriter.)  
          Anyway, Columbia REALLY IS all it’s cracked up to be.  The staff and administrators are wildly impressive, and what I’ve seen so far from the students is that they are actually exited to be in class and learning from some of the best professors in the country. The same goes for the dashing President Bollinger who happens to teach my Constitutional Law Class on the First Amendment. He considers it a privilege to teach the course and it shows. That attitude might explain the massive waiting list for this class of 150 students. 

How about Fun? You ask?  In addition to the initial INTIMIDATION and FEAR, yes, I’m indeed having FUN.  That’s my job.

Until next time, your friend buried in books,
Anita Thompson 



September 02, 2006

A Member of the Tribe

I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that’s where I belong
Yet I’m running to her like a river’s song

— Van Morrison

My heart is heavy. We lost a young member of our tribe yesterday to melanoma.  Her name is Donna Robinson, and she lived near Woody Creek for many years until she moved to Washington, D.C. with her husband Curtis and their young son Finn.  Donna was a dear friend to a lot of people in Woody Creek, and especially to Hunter. She was one of the regulars in the kitchen during the compilation of Hunter’s first and second letters books, and her graceful and smart attitude influenced Hunter’s work on oh, so many nights when the mood in the kitchen was getting stressful. Perhaps she learned that skill of grace under pressure while working in the journalism business with Curtis, starting newspapers such as the Roaring Fork Sunday and resurrecting the Mountain Gazette.  

I remember one snowy night about two in the morning after Donna and Curtis had been over. Sitting on a chair in the kitchen was a pair of dark blue/purple L.L. Bean-style mittens. I picked them up and said, "Oh, I wonder who left their mittens…maybe Donna?" Hunter took the mittens, held them to his cheek, and said as he looked at them, "Yes, these must be Donna’s–they’re soft, warm, and practical, just like her." He held the mittens for a little while and kissed them and put them on the counter. He loved Donna.      

So now, instead of kissing her mittens, I believe he greeted her on the other side with a gentlemanly kiss on the hand. I like to think they are reunited and he’s showing her the ropes on the other side.  

Another thing I love about Donna was that she was the first of all of Hunter’s friends who asked me what I thought about a political candidate, and we all miss her thoughtfulness very much. She is very much alive in the vast body of work she left behind, including her volumes of photography from around the country and her journals–but most important, a beautiful family, who have all the support and love of the entire Gonzo tribe.
Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson

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