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Monday, August 22, 2005

Spirit in the Sky

"Freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness so that we ourselves can become true and good." Photo of the final blast from aspentimes.comThese were Pope Benedict XVI's words of wisdom at the World Youth Day Festival in Cologne yesterday. Strangely, it brought to mind Hunter S. Thompson. Possibly because I visited the city of Cologne in 1994 and saw the majestic cathedral they have there just before I started reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but mostly because King Gonzo had a celebration of his own just a few hours before the pope uttered the words I opened with.

In accordance with his last will and testament, Hunter Thompson's ashes were packed into fireworks and shot into the sky from a 153 foot tower over his home near Aspen, Colorado on Saturday 20 August - exactly six months after he took his own life with a gun here. The first time he publicly described how he wanted his ashes dispersed was in a 1978 BBC documentary. Here's how the New York Times reported the event on Sunday:

The final send-off began with Japanese ceremonial drummers and Buddhist readings in Tibetan. Then, with a bang that Matt Wood, a Zambelli fireworks designer and producer, described as just below the level of a sonic boom, 34 lines of fireworks streamed from the ground. The whole display lasted less than a minute, after which a recording of Bob Dylan wailed with "Mr. Tambourine Man" ("I'm ready for to fade/Into my own parade"). The partying then commenced, with jam sessions into the wee hours.

Thompson's truth and goodness were very different from the ones the pope had in mind when he spoke to the Catholic youths gathered in Germany. However, there's no doubt in my mind that this elaborate shindig at Owl Creek was all about becoming true and good.


Yesterday afternoon, as if to punctuate the weird counterpoint between the pope and the great gonzo, Robert Moog passed away at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. No public memorial is planned. Fans and friends can direct their sympathies or remembrances to

Blogger Toni Sant said...

I have created a test podcast based on this blog entry. Details here. 

11:09 PM, August 24, 2005

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