Thoughts On The Dead

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

Author: Thoughts On The Dead (page 2 of 705)

Maggie Haberman Receives Another Late Night Call


“Wha? Huh? Jesus, what time is it? Oh, this better not be him. Hello?”


“Was that a belch?”

“Hey, better out than in. Haberman, it’s Bannon.”

“How did you get my number?”

“Mooch gave it to me.”

“Of course he did.”

“He says you two banged.”

“Fake news.”

“Hey, that’s my line. HahahaHACK HACK HACK!”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“Nothing a Pall Mall won’t soothe. Listen, Habes.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“This place? The White House? Couldn’t run without me. Bunch of fucktards. And Jews. Everywhere ya fuckin’ turn. It’s like a Chinese restaurant on Christmas. Should call it the Nose House.”


“Speaking of China, they got Fat Ass over a barrel. Like the funniest scene in Pulp Fiction.”

“Which scene was that?”

“Where the black guy gets raped.”


“They’re the real enemy.”

“Black guys or China? I mean, either answer is horrible, but I’d like to know what you meant.”



“Chinese are eating our lunch. And, you know: anything’s lunch to those fuckin’ people. Hardcore omnivores, the Chinese.”

“Mr. Bannon–”

“Big Steve!”

“–is there a reason you’re calling?”

“Because I think we have a lot more in common than you think.”

“We do? Like what?”

“Both of us hate me.”


“We’re both halfway through our second bottle of gin.”

“I was asleep.”

“Sleeping’s for cucks.”

“And everyone else.”

“Nonsense! Napoleon slept three hours a night, and so do I. The trick is to not own a bed.”

“How does that work?”

“I keep a pile of canvas moving blankets in the corner. I just curl up for short snoozes. Hey, did you see the president’s press conference? How great was that?”

“Not at all. It was the single most shameful public performance of a president since Bush threw up on the Japanese prime minister. And, you know: that was involuntary. Whereas Trump intended to equate Nazis and people protesting Nazis.”

“And he fuckin’ nailed it! Listen to me, young lady: start removing Confederate statues and next thing you know, white people are being executed in the streets by radical feminist lesbian Mexicans. History proves this.”

“It doesn’t.”


“WHOA! There ya go! Big Steve’s back in the game. Hey, I got a ton of this; come on over and get loose.”

“No. Wait. Where are you?”


“You’re doing cocaine in the White House?”

“In the White House? Shit, I’m sitting at the fuckin’ Resolute Desk. I AM THE LAW, MOTHERFUCKER.”

“Holy shit.”

“I’m optimistic about tax reform.”



“What about tax reform?”

“I didn’t say anything about tax reform. Hey, you wanna know what Fat Ass keeps in his desk drawers?”

“You shouldn’t do that.”

“That’s never stopped me before.”

“Okay, tell me.”


“Holy shit, it’s just cans of hair spray and cock rings.”

“I didn’t need to know that.”

“Ooh, a Luger.”

“A Luger?”

“It’s a German pistol issued to Nazi officers, Habes.”

“Don’t call me that. And I know what it is. Why is there one in the president’s desk drawer?”

“Because it’s history. Removing the Nazi pistol from the Resolute Desk would be just as bad as taking down the Robert E. Lee statue.”

“I have no response to that.”


“Or that. I am hanging up, Mr. Bannon.”

“Big Steve!”

“Not calling you that.”

“Okay, okay, okay. Just, uh, just answer one question for me.”


“What kind of name is Haberman, anyway?”


I Wish I Had A Seatbelt On A Northbound Train

The Grateful Dead weren’t a car band, not thematically. Keith’s Let Me Sing Your Blues Away uses an automotive motif, and Bobby has a line about Cassady’s Cadillac, but not much more than that in their original tunes. (I am deliberately not mentioning Money, Money.) Chuck Berry and Bruce and all the other blue-jeaned rockers covered the parking lot; the Dead tended to mine the depots and switchyards for their symbolic language.

Don’t believe me? Go check for yourself. Searching for “car” pulls up five examples, only one of which was written by the band and is actually referring to a boxcar. “Train,” on the other hand, retrieves eight original songs and a shitload of covers. The Dead’s songs generally take place in some dateless “West” where the past and present and future jerk each other off and eat each others’ lunches from the fridge; the introduction of an automobile gives a song too much temporal specificity.

The Dead also liked trains because the Dead were the trainwreckingest band that ever sold out football stadiums. They were capable of shanking any song at any moment, and in ways you’d not think possible were you not an Enthusiast and already apprised of the band’s infinite bush leaguery. Do you not believe me yet again? Listen to this El Paso from 11/2/84 at the Berkeley Community Theater. El Paso has two fucking chords and they played it every other night for their entire career, but the Dead found a way to utterly fuck the song up AND for way longer than usual: El Paso is usually three-and-a-half minutes long, but this Texas Tragedy is over six.

That El Paso is a bit of an outlier, though, in that you can’t quite put your finger on what went wrong besides everything. Not so with this Ship Of Fools from 5/5/78 at Dartmouth. 6:35 or thereabouts, Garcia jumps a beat in between “It was later than I thought” and “When I first believed you” and then refuses to listen to anyone onstage for the rest of the tune; the song never recovers.

But if we’re talking full-song calamities, then the 3/31/85 China Doll might be the winner. It’s got everything: Garcia randomly speeding up and slowing down, pooched lyrics, transition pile-ups, out-of-sync drummers, and several unplanned key changes.

Those, Enthusiasts, are all intrasong trainwrecks, but the Dead also managed to fuck up before they’d quite begun the tune.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B (go to 2:02:00):

We have barely scratched the surface, Enthusiasts. There were many other categories of catastrophe. You’ll notice that the songs posted so far have been ones that the Dead knew how to play. But, sometimes, the Grateful Dead would play songs that they did not know how to play. For example, on 6/23/88 at Alpine Valley, the Dead did not know how to play the Beatles’ Blackbird. They did not let that stop them.

Well, Blackbird’s got a bunch of chords, you might think. Louie Louie, however, famously has only three. And yet, the Dead did not know how to play the song.

In terms of minor wrecks–ones that work themselves out within a few bars, but still make you giggle–the best place to go looking is right at the intersection of Jam and Song in Playing in the Band. That spot was the Dead’s equivalent of that one wobbly step on your staircase that you trip on every time but never fix.

I’m missing quite a few, obviously. Speak up in the Comment Section, and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.


I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately.

Stop that.



(With thanks to everyone on Twitter who pointed out these gems.)

An Imperfect Storm

“How dare the fire department attack that fire? The arsonist was just expressing his views.”

“Telling that man to put his dick away makes you just as bad as him. Whatever happened to ‘I don’t agree with your dick, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to take it out in the food court?'”

“The real Yankees are the team playing the Yankees.”

Can’t we get back to silly little skitches and making up words?

Ah, you know. Got Nazis on the brain.

Go find some wacky pictures of Phil or something. You’re driving yourself nuts.

I know, I know. But…

But what?


What did you do?

I might kind of sort of a little bit be hosting the Daily Stormer.

I can’t with you.


What so you even mean by hosting? You don’t have a server. You barely know how to use your computer.

What do computers have to do with it? I’m hosting them.

Like, physically?

They’re in the living room.

The Daily Stormer is in the living room?

Well, I’m not letting them in the solarium.

Tell the Nazis to get out.

Dude, free speech.

This has literally nothing to do with free speech.

Commerce Clause? It’s in the Constitution somewhere. I wish I could get rid of them: they’re complete assholes.


They took my Galactus action figure and turned it into a Robert E. Lee statue. And the house stinks like citronella.

The tiki torches?

Those fuckers are obsessed.

Throw the Nazis out.

What if some of them are fine people who just happen to work for the Stormer?

Ah. We have a name for those people.


Nazis. Throw them out and write something funny.

You’re not the boss of me.

I actually am.

I know.

Something Sweet

You know Annabelle and Trixie, but those are Trey’s daughters, Kay and Fay, on the outside.

A Time For Choosing

The poet Maya Angelou once said, “Don’t forget about my asshole while you’re back there, boy. Let’s see some thumb work.” She also said “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.”

O, he showed us.

Is there a more transparent man in public life? A more obviously oblivious and  patently putrid mammal incapable of strategic thought or deed? Donald Trump has always laid his cards face-up in any one of the casinos he bankrupted. (He is, in a way, more trustworthy than actual politicians: they might be lying, but Trump is.) For years now–decades if you grew up in the New York mediasphere–he has informed all in earshot of his views on race. (And women, foreigners, the poor, and the press, but let’s stick to the topic of the day.)

His very first campaign speech–the cold open, for fuck’s sake–built to a climax in which he called Mexicans rapists.

In the 80’s, Trump paid (or got someone else to pay, most likely) for full-page ads in the papers calling for the death penalty for the so-called “Central Park Five, a group of black teens accused of raping a white women. They were later exonerated after spending years in jail; the city paid out more than $40 million in settlements. Donald Trump refused to apologize or repudiate his claims given the new information. Instead, he doubled down.

Any mention of African-Americans in his presence leads to a stuttering harangue on the inner cities, and their terrors.

Gonzalo Curiel is a judge assigned to hear a case involving Donald Trump. This is what he said:

“I think it has to do with, perhaps, the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border — very, very strong on the border,” Trump said at the time. “He has been extremely hostile to me. Now, he is Hispanic, I believe.”

Pressure on Trump continued to mount after his comments. In an interview with CNN in June, Trump doubled down on his criticism of Curiel, who was born and raised in Indiana, saying that his comments were not racist. “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”

One might think it odd for a man who had such poor luck in casinos to be doubling down so much.

Donald Trump uses not just words to show us who he is, but actions. Hiring one known racist to work in the White House? Well, that’s an accident. Happens to the best of us. Happened to Reagan! Brought a fellow on to be his Communications Director and it came out that he’d been in the Hitler Youth. Ronnie gave him the axe, not sent him out to represent the presidency on teevee. Hire two? Can’t lie: that’s suspicious. But three? Now, that’s downright suggestive.

King of the birthers, ladies and gentiles.

Must we speak of Twitter? Of the “accidental” retweets from white supremacists? At the Star of David overlaid on a background of cash? Six members of Trump’s economic council have resigned in the past few days: five white and one black. I’ll take your bet on which one got the nasty tweet, but I won’t give you better odds than even money.

When Nazis started a riot in Charlottesville on Saturday, a woman ended up dead. Two policemen surveiling the scene were killed when their helicopter crashed. Many others were injured, some severely.  The president could not be bothered to cut his 17-day vacation short, and that night he read a boilerplate statement for half-a-paragraph. The statement had been prepared for him by more sober minds, but Donald got bored and started extemporizing.

“Many sides” were responsible for the carnage, he said while standing at a podium bearing the Presidential seal.

The White House released an unsigned memo the next day with more forceful language.

And so we come to the present. At a press conference today, Trump declared both sides to be equally at fault. One side, it should be noted, was made up of Nazis; the other was not. Yet the president claimed ambivalence towards the event. After all, he reminded us, the Nazis did have a permit. Then he expressed gratitude that mother of the dead woman wrote nice things about him on Facebook.

And then he lied about owning a winery in Charlottesville.

The cards are up. We’ve seen what Donald Trump is holding: most likely a flush. He seems to prefer when colors stick together. He is the most honest liar in the entire world, and he has shown us who he is.

Donald Trump has shown us whose side he is on.

Whose side are you on?

Maggie Haberman Is Still Getting Late-Night Calls


“Wha? Why? What time is it? Hello?”


“Ah, fuck.”


“It’s your boy, Mooch!”

“I heard the theme music.”

“You see me on Colbert tonight? Fuckin’ killed that shit. Got it up on the big screen now. Mamalucha! I look good.”

“Why are you calling?”

“I’d fuck me.”

“I take it you’re getting over your divorce.”

“Pssh. Not even in my rearview anymore. Mooch is moving on. And moving out. You like Billy Joel?”

“I work for the New York Times. Of course I like Billy Joel.”

“Next time he comes around, we’ll go together.”


“I get tickets in the luxury boxes, so I can go in the back and get a bit of skull You know: in case he starts playing any new stuff.”


“My dick goes insane in the mountains of mouthness.”

“I have absolutely no idea–”

“Some slurp for my wontons.”

“What does any of this have to do with Billy Joel?”

“I know him, y’know.”

“Of course you do.”

“One time out in the Hamptons, me and Billy are driving around late at night. Mercedes, the Brabus, very classy. We’re gettin’ high, I’m helpin’ him with lyrics, it’s a great night.”


“And Billy looks at me and says, ‘Watch this, Mooch.’ And he drives the car right the fuck into a tree.”


“And then, with a superhuman strength he had heretofore not displayed in my presence, he pulled my body over to the driver’s side as he got out. ‘When the cops come? If you mention my name, I’ll fuckin’ kill you.’ This is what he said! ‘I’m Billy fuckin’ Joel, motherfucker.’ And then he kissed me on the mouth and ran into the woods.”

“None of this happened.”

“Greatest night of my life.”

“Why are you calling me?”


“Don’t call me that.”

“–I genuinely wanted to hear your opinion on my Colbert spot. I value your insight as a reporter and as a writer.”


“Sure, why not.”

“You’re coked up and bored with talking to the hookers?”

“Bingo bongo bango. You’re sharp.”

“I’ve been told.”

“You did watch, right?”

“Yes, I watched.”

“I knew it. You’re sweet on me. You’re drunk off Mooch Hooch.”

“I am a fan of Stephen Colbert.”

“Between you and me? Pretty sure he’s a fag.”

“Stop that.”

“I got a vibe off him.”

“Maybe he was just reflecting your energy, ever think about that?”

“Ayyoh! Watch your mouth, little girl.”

“Little girl?”

“The Mooch ain’t no finocchio. I eat more pussy than the Koreans.”

“Wow. Sexist and racist at once.”

“Mooch killed that shit so hard. Already blowing up. Got an offer from a teevee station to do a talk show.”

“Russia Today?”

“Who leaked that!? Was it Bannon?”

“I guessed.”

“That fat fuck Bannon. I give him this!”


“And this!”


“That’s what I give Steve Bannon.”

“You do know we’re on the phone, right?”

“You know what he always reminded me of? Fight Club.”

Fight Club? Everybody was in shape in that movie. Wait. Meatloaf?”

“Nah. You remember when Brad Pitt and the other guy steal the fat to make soap? And they’re going over the fence with the barbed wire and one of the bags gets caught and starts leaking? That’s what Bannon reminds me of. That bag of human fat draped over barbed wire and pouring grease and shit onto the world.”

“Not a bad analogy.”

“You think I should be on Dancing with the Stars?”

“Have they called?”

“They’re gonna.”

“You should.”

“Gotta keep the face out there. Besides, the Mooch got moves. Me and my friends used to go down to this disco in Queens every Saturday night.”

“I already know where this is going.”

“And then we raped a chick and my buddy jumped off a bridge. It’s honestly fucked-up story if you think about it.”

“I’m hanging up the phone.”

“Why do we still say ‘hang up?’ Isn’t that weird?”

“Good night, Mooch.”

“Wait, wait. So you really thought I did good?”

“You were your usual charming self.”

“I gotta be me.”

“Even when you shouldn’t.”

“Sure you don’t wanna come over?”


“I got ecstasy.”


Dem Ol’ Caveman Blues


“Yeah, Oggie?”

“Your hair looks great.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s a compliment. I invented them this morning. How’d it make you feel?”

“Honestly? Warm inside. More secure in our friendship.”

“Thog, friendship is the best thing we’ve come up with so far.”

“Better than clothes?”

“Okay, second-best.”

“Because it was just so cold at night before we invented clothes.”

“True. So you liked the compliment thing?’

“I did. Is it just for hair?”

“No! That’s the great part. You could compliment someone on anything.”

“A smile?”

“That would be a perfect thing to compliment someone on.”

“A job well done?”

“Yes! You wanna try?”

“Sure. Um. Oggie, you’ve got a great penis.”


“It’s just lovely. Brings a smile to the cave.”


“What? You complimented my hair. I assumed all body parts were in the game.”

“My penis is not in the game. Plus I’m wearing my tunic. You can’t even see it.”

“It’s burned into my memory.”

“Can we talk about something else?”

“My penis?”


“Oh! Wait, I had something to tell you.”


“Not about penises.”


“I invented something this morning, too. Check this out: OOOOOOOooooooo AAAAwahwahLAAAAAAAA!”

“What the fuck was that?”

“I don’t know, man.”

“It was like you were talking, but…not.”

“Right? Sounded like a bird a little?”

“It was amazing.”

“You try, Oggie.”

“Okay. Harrumph! DOOOOOOoooooowahdiddydiddydumdiddydoooooooOOOOOOO.”


“That was good?”

“That was outrageous.”

“It felt a little pitchy, Thog.”

“You were in there. Your voice is as beautiful as your penis.”

“You need to stop with that.”

“This is the best thing we’ve invented since compliments! Let’s call it ‘fisting.'”

“Or ‘singing’ could be good, too.”

“Yeah, okay. We should form a group.”

“A capella? Ugh. So dorky.”

“Well, then we need to invent instruments, don’t we?”

“I got an idea.”

“Please don’t say piano.”

“Why not? I’ve always wanted to learn the piano.”

“Thog, look down.


“Now tell me: are you wearing shoes, or are there raw animal skins strapped crudely to your feet?”

“The second thing.”

“Yeah, that’s why we can’t have a piano.”


“Same answer.”


“We can do drums.”

“Double kick drums?”

“Let’s start with slapping our hands on rocks and build from there.”

“Dude, we’re in a band.”

“We gotta think of a name.”

“And then paint it on the rock.”


More Musical Questions Answered

Who’s Zooming Who? First of all, Aretha: whom. You meant to ask “Who’s zooming whom?” Second: I think you’re using some kind of colloquial definition of “zooming” that I am not privy to. Zooming could mean almost anything. You’ve given me nothing to work with, and therefore I cannot answer this.

How Long Has This Been Going On? Okay, I am going to need all of you fuckers to be more specific. These pronouns are killing me. What’s “this,” Paul Carrack? Photosynthesis? If you’re asking how long photosynthesis has been going on, then the answer is “a very long time.” But if “this” refers to the fidget spinner fad, then I would say it’s been six months or so. But without more information, this song too remains a mystery.

Who Wrote The Book Of Love? Neruda, or maybe E.L. James.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone? It’s winter, Pete. They’ll be back in May. I can’t go through this with you every fucking January, man.

Are You Experienced? STOP BEING VAGUE, ASSHOLES. Experienced at what? Long-haul driving? Animal husbandry? Refrigerator repair? (Although knowing Hendrix, he was probably talking about headband-wearin’. Jimi wore the fuck out of headbands.)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? Little bit.

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? The one with the waggly tail? I don’t know and quite honestly think you’re a monster for even considering buying an animal from a store. Rescue your pets, folks.*

Who Wears Short Shorts? Bobert Herbert Walker Weir.

Is She Really Going Out With Him? I can’t. I just can’t. Who is “she” and who is “him,” Joe Jackson? I don’t travel in your social circles, so I need more context.

How Soon Is Now? Oh, shut up, Morrissey.

Who’s That Girl? FUUUUUUUUUUCK. Are you pointing, Madonna? Are you pointing at a woman on the street? You need to be more forthcoming. Tell me who that girl is. Wait. Are you talking about Marlo Thomas? Holy shit, has Who’s That Girl been about Marlo Thomas all these years? Does Donahue know?

You Down With OPP? Yeah, you know me.


*You can buy fish from the store. I don’t think there are rescue fish.

Trumps! Through! Historyyyyyyyy!

December 8th, 1941

“My fellow Americans, and also the losers and haters and blacks. Yesterday, December 7th, was a very, very bad day. Not good at all. Was it Wilkie’s fault? Maybe. Maybe. Who knows? I heard on the radio that it was, but it might have been the fake radio.

“Many sides were responsible for the tragedy in Hawaii. Parking a lot of ships like that is a real provocation. We’re not angels.

“Okay, great, war, great. Look up the Japs, though.”

September 11th, 2001

“Violence is not okay. I’m gonna say that again, but real slow. Not. Oh. Kay. Whether it’s the violence done by people flying planes into buildings, or the violence that buildings do to planes.

“It’s just sad all around.”

June 26th, 1963

Ich bin ein Berliner. But also a Communist. There are two sides to this story. Zwei sides, you understand that? Zwei.

“This is a beautiful wall.”

Sweet And Bitter Fruit

Virginia, you slut.

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