Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

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People Who Don’t Need To Wear Masks

BRADS PITT The Brads Pitt among us are excused from covering up their peachy punims in any way, as it would be a shonda. I am here using “Brad Pitt” as a synecdoche for the stupidly beautiful, and also pluralizing his name in a semi-humorous fashion.

TODDLERS You can’t even get those goofy little bastards to wear pants half the time, so trying to keep their masks on is just an exercise in futility. Nephew on the Dead won’t even allow a hat on his head without flinging it, hard, at one of his parents within seconds; he ain’t masking up. Just keep the tykes inside as much as possible and keep washing ’em down. (WARNING: Spitting on your fingers and scraping their face half-off is NOT RECOMMENDED during the Covid pandemic. Plus, kids hate that shit, man. Don’t do that to them.)

THE FACELESS Don’t have a face, don’t have to wear a mask. That’s just math.

PEOPLE WITH BREATHING PROBLEMS Although if you have an underlying respiratory ailment so severe that a piece of cloth with the thickness of a cheap tee-shirt can inhibit your breathing, you probably shouldn’t be going out at all right now, huh?

SHAMPOO-HEADS There are approximately 100,000 Americans who, through either science or magick, have had their entire heads replaced with an equivalent mass of shampoo, specifically Suave Tropical Coconut. They are exempt from facial-covering regulations because how would that even work, man? How you gonna put a mask on a skull-shaped blob of shampoo? Can’t be done, muchacho!

TORTOISES Tortoises aren’t people, guy. Says right in the title that we’re discussing people.

DEAD ZEBRAS Well, fucking obviously. Dead zebras are dead, and they’re zebras. Two reasons why they’re exempt, guy

BURGER EXPRESS Guy! Are you talking about the burger joint that Mother on the Dead used to take Brother on the Dead and me when we were kids? The train-themed place? It closed in 1988, guy. And it was a restaurant. Didn’t need a mask. No respiratory processes.

BOOF Are you talking about shoving drugs up your butthole, or the girl-next-door character from Teen Wolf?

BOOF Answer the question, guy.


We’ll finish up here, huh?

That bold asshole is no good. Not a team player.

He does seem to have his own agenda.

There’s gonna be some new rules around here very soon.

Good to hear, guy.

A Tale Of Two Cities

(Originally posted under the title One Night In America on 6/11/ 16)


If you were a snazzy dude or a stone-cold fox in Santa Rosa, CA, on 6/28/69, you were in luck. The Grateful damned Dead was in town and for the price of a ticket, or a boost up the venue’s drainpipe, you could kick the shit off your rock and roll shoes. You could get down, or get high, or get busy, or get real loose with it, or you could get into some real heavy shit. The cops would give you the stink-eye, and pick off the dumb and unlucky, but mostly it was a summer night in America and you could fall in love.

If you were gay in Manhattan and wanted a drink, you were fucked. I mean: you could purchase a beverage. You just couldn’t be gay while you drank it; it was illegal. And actually, the beverage itself probably was illegal, as the only bars that catered to homosexuals were owned by the mob. An establishment that tolerated homosexual behavior would get its liquor license pulled, and there were undercover cops scouring the city looking for enclaves of gays and lesbians who had the temerity to be thirsty and want to dance to the jukebox. A legitimate restaurateur needed his license, so even if he were sympathetic (or secretly gay himself), he wouldn’t permit gayness in his place.

Criminals, on the other hand, couldn’t give a shit about licenses, and they owned the gay bars.  Every week, the local precinct’s bagman would swing by for his payment, and every month or so, a bunch of cops would swing by to arrest people: men for dancing with one another, or women for wearing “un-feminine” clothing. These bars were terrible and filthy places with stolen and watered-down liquor, and the worst bathrooms in Manhattan until CBGB’s opened. One place, the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, didn’t have running water.

Veteran’s Auditorium in Santa Rosa had running water. The kids could dance, and wear whatever the hell they wanted.

The undercover cops I mentioned? They’d hit on guys, and arrest them for responding. The paper would print your name and address the next day, and lawyers wouldn’t take your case. And–and this is the important part right here–society was happy to see you get what you deserved, fairy. You weren’t a criminal. You were the crime.

A drink in a clean, well-lighted place. A dance floor, and dimes for the Wurlitzer. It isn’t too much to ask.

On June 28th, 1969–probably at exactly the same time the kids in Santa Rosa were doing exactly what they wanted to do–the cops raided the Stonewall, where the kids were not allowed to do what they wanted.

I called them kids.

They were.

The busts were usually peaceful, but not this night; the riot lasted three days and sparked the modern gay rights movement. People will only eat shit for so long, and there are stories of drag queens ripping up the sidewalks to throw chunks of paving stones at cops. I hope those stories are true, but there’s no tape. Not even an AUD.

’69 was a long time ago, but not that long, and society’s come far, but not far enough. The finish line keeps moving itself backwards, it seems.

Some people like to go to Dead shows, and some people like to go to gay bars; they’re the same thing: something to drink, and someplace to dance, and people who understand you. Maybe even want to kiss you. Somewhere you could let your light shine.

It isn’t too much to ask.

It Was The Least We Could Do

In response to the Black Lives Matters protests of the past weeks and months, the following changes have been made:

  • Pearl Jam’s Ten rereleased without the song Black.
  • The Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy renamed the Mookie Wilson School of Public Policy.
  • Mel Gibson only permitted to star in one movie a year instead of “however many he wants.”
  • 7/11/69 deleted from the Archive. (Look it up yourself, but keep it to yourself, too.)
  • Chocolate Rain is now the National Anthem, but not Phish’s version.
  • Colin Kaepernick allowed to take any job he wants, even if he’s entirely unqualified for it, like deep-sea salvage work or kidney surgery.
  • “Black cat crossing your path” now lucky.
  • If you watch Gone With The Wind on HBO Max, you will now see a disclaimer explaining the context of the film’s creation, and also a laser beam will shoot from the screen about 45 minutes in, hit you in the forehead, and poach your frontal lobe.
  • “John Wayne Airport” renamed the “Wig-Wearing Bitch Who Didn’t Serve In WWII And Was Actually Named Marion Airport.”
  • All Cracker Barrels replaced with Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
  • Johnny Walker rejiggers their ranking system so that Black Label is now the good stuff instead of the second-worst swill.
  • Confederate Statue, an unfortunately named women from Topeka, thrown into a lake.

In response to the Black Lives Matters protests of the past weeks and months, the following changes have not been made:

  • Anything, like, important.

I Turn To Stone

Hey, Phil.

“Hey, Ballsack.”

Is that your new name for me?

“It’s not new.”

Okay. Why aren’t you facing the crowd?

“Nothing but uggos out there tonight. All of their features are in the wrong places. Can’t even look at them.”

You have such contempt for your fans.

“C’mon, man. Look at ’em. It’s like all their faces were torn off by chimps, and then reattached poorly.”

I can’t really see them.

“Lucky bastard.”

A Partial Transcript Of Today’s Covid-19 Task Force Press Conference, 6/26/20

“Good morning, everyone, but a great morning to one really special American, President Donald J. Trump. Your loyal Vice-President salutes you. He’s probably too busy to watch this, what with the massive work ethic he possesses. Slow down, Mr. President people will say, and he just laughs and goes back to making America greater. And if he’s not actively making America great, he’s thinking about. By gosh, I believe he dreams about it.

“But if President Trump does by chance have the teevee on, which he so rarely does, then I’d like to thank him for the leadership he’s shown since…well, his entire life, I guess. And I’d like to thank him for this opportunity to share the encouraging news about the Kung Flu. And I’d like to thank him for explaining to me why I should call it Kung Flu instead of Coronavirus. Sometimes, my opinions get twisted up, and President Trump straightens my brain right out. I love him for that. He teaches me so much.

“Oh, hey, lemme introduce everyone. You know Doctors Fauci and Birx.”


“President Trump loves them. So, I love them. They’re tremendous. It’s common practice back in Indiana to distrust Italians, but Dr. Fauci is one of the good ones. Doc, when are you going to invite me over to your momma’s house for some of her spicy meat-a balls?”


“And maybe some gabagool. Gee, I’d love to try that. Exotic! So, uh, getting back to the main point: President Trump has defeated Covid-19, and he also definitely knows what the ’19’ stands for. Much like Hercules slayed the Nemean Lion, President Trump has strangled the virus to death with his bare hands. If I were to name President Trump’s hands, I would name them Leadership and Powerfulness. I wish he’d let me name his hands. That would be such an honor.

“So: the pandemic is officially a nondemic. The American people, at the command of their mighty leader Donald J. Trump, whipped the virus. Whipped it real good. All 50 states are doing great, even the Democrat-run ones that have been set on fire by unruly blacks. Here is an inarguable fact: If you are a Wendy’s restaurant, you are at a much higher risk of being torched by unruly blacks than of catching coronavirus. You can’t argue with facts.

“And so as a result of President Trump’s brilliant actions, America has flattened the curve and will now be entering Phase: Delta. Okay, any questions? You, in the front.”

“What the hell is Phase: Delta?”

“Everything is open and all Americans are encouraged to splatter their bodily fluids willy-nilly. Also, testing for the virus is now illegal. And doctors aren’t allowed to cite Covid as a cause of death. They have to say it was the flu or pneumonia or pleurisy or whatever.”


“Well, remember when I said ‘You can’t argue with facts?’ I was right about that, but you can create your own facts. Legally, no one is going to die from Covid any more.”

“Where did the name come from?”

“Phase: Delta? The President is good friends with Chuck Norris.”

“Sounds right. Did you say that testing is now illegal?”

“Yes. And we are encouraging vigilantism on this issue. People should really take matters into their own hands.”

“That is incredibly irresponsible.”

“Is it?”

“China’s the irresponsible one.”

“We’re not talking about China.”

“I am! And I am accusing them of engineering a lethal bio-weapon and releasing it into the world.”

“Why would they do that?”


“Did you have another question?”

“Nah. Just gonna sit here and breathe for a while.”

“Super. Who’s next? Oh, ugh, fine. Yamiche?”

“Good morning to you, too, Mr. Vice-President.”

“You here to pull down a statue?”

“I’m ignoring that. Mr. Vice-President, should Americans wear masks in public settings?”

“Yamiche, I know you hate America, but some of us still believe in the ol’ gal. The America I know is full of decent, hard-working, god-fearing, red-blooded folks. Less so in the big cities, but there’s still some decent folks there. I trust ’em to make the right decision.”

“And what is the right decision?”

“The American decision.”

“You’re not answering my question. Should people wear masks in public?”

“Batman should! Otherwise, everyone would know his secret identity.”

“Uh-huh. What about everyone who’s not Batman?”

“Almost all of the scenarios we discuss in Corona Task Force meetings involve Batman in some way. We’re still holding out for the possibility that he’s gonna show up and save us all.”

“Sir, should Americans wear masks in public or not?”

“Well, what counts as public? The middle of the ocean is public, but I don’t think a mask is necessary there. Or forests. The International Space Station.”

“Restaurants, sir. Bars and restaurants and stores. Should people wear masks while in these establishments?”

“Hey, look!”


“Wook at the widdle kitty. Wook at him.”

“You planted a kitten in your coat so you’d have a distraction when you got a difficult question?”

“Depends. Are you distracted?”



“Can’t blame a guy for trying. Let’s let someone who isn’t Yamiche have a chance. Paula?”

“Mr. Vice-President, the number of cases in Americans under 35 is exploding. What are the plans for dealing with that?”

“Dealing with it? We’re celebrating it.”

“What now?”

“That demographic leans heavily Democrat. And, when they die, it gets them off the unemployment roles. Two-for-one kinda deal. We’re choosing positivity, Paula. Y’know what song I listen to every morning to put myself in the right headspace? Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”

“That song was ironic.”

“Do I seem like a guy who understands irony?”


“All right, then. Next question. You.”

“Mr. Vice-President: Earlier, you claimed that the United States had ‘flattened the curve.’ That is not true, sir.”

“It is.”

“No, sir.”

“The curve has been flattened. Can’t even call it a curve anymore.”

“Mr. Vice-President, this is the curve:

“How can you call that flat?”

“By looking at it from very far away. From around a hundred paces, this sucker’d look flat as a pancake.”

“I give up.”

“Wonderful! Anybody up for some Bible Study?”

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