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Cranial Unity

One member of the tribe is 75 years old today.  Happy Birthday George Stranahan!  We know him as the founder of Woody Creek, and a friendship with Hunter spanning 40 years.  We love him dearly along with his art, flying dog beer, and Stranahan Whiskey too. 

Here is a note that Hunter wrote to a guy named Max Palevsky,.  Xerox bought Max’s company for $94 million and made him potential Woody Creek neighbor/benefactor material.  Hunter wrote this to him about George’s Woody Creek in the early stages of the Utopia. 
Dear Max,
…[we have ] an embryo-stage land-use experiment we’re trying to put together out here in this valley about 10 miles out of Aspen.  The main man is George Stranahan, whose relationship with Champion Spark Plugs is much the same as yours is to Xerox.  He’s about your age, but far more suave & intelligent…currently serving his final year as a physics professor at Mich. State.
            Anyway, after spending several million to buy up this entire valley, which backs into 5 million acres of the White River National Forest, he’s now pondering some very weird ways of dealing with the land – the main idea being to effectively “retire” the land, take it permanently off the local real estate market,  by selling a handful of large chunks to people with no interest in re-sale of sub-dividing.  

…These people would be selected with an eye to some sort of cranial unity…a small community of general freaks who’d be willing to build their own city on a huge 800 acre mesa that would otherwise become a stone rotten subdivision.

–Hunter S. Thompson,  Owl Farm, 1971.  Fear and Loathing in America.


So,  as I sit here at my owl farm  computer, looking out the window to see red cliffs and mountains, instead of rows and rows of houses,  I think of Hunter and George blowing up cars with dynamite in that back pasture as they pondered this unique community.  Those of us who live here intend to help George perpetuate the Vision, with Hunter’s sense of Freedom and Privacy. The two of them together were more than the sum of their parts that created this atavistic endeavor. 

Today’s amendment:


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Tomorrow night many of us will be joining Ralph Steadman at the Denver Press Club at 6pm.  Be there or be square.


Until next time, you’re friend,

Anita Thompson







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