Thoughts On The Dead

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

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This Is How You Do It

Draymond Green wouldn’t laugh at Marvin Gaye. (Okay, maybe he’d giggle at Marvin’s last name.)

Punching Above His Weight

He came for Oprah during the NBA All-Star Game on Black Panther weekend. Which is impressive. It’s like pushing Jon Stewart down the stairs at a Phish show on the third night of Hanukkah. (The sharp-eyed will not that TotD does not follow the Combovergruppenführer. I won’t have him popping up in my feed unbidden and suddenly like some cheeseburger-soaked pukwudgie.) I don’t know about this one. People love them some Oprah. White ladies would fucking die for Oprah, and every black lady has an ongoing fantasy in which she takes Gayle King’s place as Oprah’s bestie. The Big O is a four-quadrant personality; she’s got a giant Q. This is a terrible move.

Which, of course, means that he’s gonna do something even worse in a week or so. TotD thereby presents: Which Beloved American Figure Is Trump Gonna Attack Next?

  • Rocky Balboa.
  • Women actively giving birth.
  • Wounded veterans. (Wait. He already did this several times.)
  • Apple pie.
  • Babe Ruth.
  • Nancy Reagan. (“No tits! Sad!”)
  • The half-forgotten, nearly genetic, memory of the frontier that all Americans have hidden in their hearts.
  • The astronauts that died on the Challenger.
  • Hot dogs.
  • Tom Hanks.
  • The ending of Old Yeller. (“I didn’t cry. Everyone said I was going to cry. Didn’t cry. Not sad!”)

Right Behind You

You may make Hologram JPB. He would think it was funny.

Revelations From The Mueller Indictments

  • There’s never been anything good with the initials IRA, and that includes noted disaster-movie director Irwin Allen, whose middle name was Reaganesque.
  • Even the Russians didn’t give a shit about Evan McMullin.
  • No party was charged with collusion, possibly because “collusion” isn’t the name of a crime.
  • You may or may not have run an errand for Vladimir Putin last year; there’s no way to be sure.
  • You may or may not be a Russian troll pretending to be an Enthusiast; there’s no way to be sure.
  • I may or may not be–
  • Stop it.
  • Stop all of this.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if I really were a Russian trollbot all along?
  • Like, I meant to tap the Deadhead niche and created the site to give myself some credibility, but I just got into it and forgot to sow dissension?
  • “Comrade TotDski, have you organized protest and counter-protest in Baton Rouge yet?”
  • “I haven’t. I’ve actually been working on a novel.”
  • I think that would be a great twist.
  • It would be.
  • You don’t own the bullet points. I can go wherever I want. You’re not the boss of me.
  • I absolutely am. I am the dominant voice. I stand up straight and you lean like a drunkard. Therefore, I win.
  • Ableist.
  • May I continue?
  • Yes.
  • Once again, the FBI has failed us, as it did nothing about reports of Russians standing on San Francisco street corners asking passersby for directions to “the nuclear wessels.”
  • It cannot be overstated how complicit and responsible Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube are for this.
  • And Google.
  • If Tumblr is still a thing, then Tumblr, too.
  • I don’t know how much blame to put on Instagram.
  • Instagram is just bikini girls and food and John Mayer.
  • Fuck it, better safe than sorry: Instagram is on the list.
  • It will come as no shock that one of the states Russia targeted for special attention was Florida; the places share a lunatic bond; one of their dash-cam videos could have easily been filmed in Pompano Beach.
  • Here’s the 2020 Democratic candidate’s campaign slogan: “I will sever the cable that connects Russia to the internet with a great big hatchet.”
  • That’s a landslide right there.
  • Medicare for all, legalized pot, fuck Russia.
  • BOOM you just won the presidency.
  • Also important for a Dem to run in ’20 is “not a demon slaphead made of nightmare-shit.”
  • Nightmare-shit is when you have a nightmare so scary that you shit yourself.
  • It is a rare shit.
  • And that is what Donald Trump is made out of.
  • I have been told he employs a small army of goblins to go bedroom-to-bedroom collecting what they call “dough for the master.”
  • Sneak into your window, throw a dracula or two into your dreams, PPLFT you shit yourself in terror, and the goblins scoop it up and bring it back to the White House so they can re-sculpt our president every morning.
  • I have been told that by many, many people.
  • Many people are talking about it.

Over There

The close-up photos lie; we were never that close. This is how we saw the Grateful Dead: those tiny, loud fuckers over there.


9/28/75 at Lindley Meadows, of course. (There might be no other show so discrete: it’s the most readily-identifiable show they ever played. Plus, there were a fuckton of shots taken. There’s, like, one picture of the One From The Vault show. There’s none from the time(s) they wedged the Wall of Sound into a jai-alai fronton. Just a handful from Woodstock. But the free gig under an assumed name in the park on a chilly Northern California day? Millions of pics.


“What it’s called–”

Oh hey, Precarious.

“–is omniaxial asymmetry.”

The speakers?

“Yeah. There’s no direction you can fold ’em in half cleanly.”


“Easier that way.”


And Those That Could Not Sink Or Swim Were Just Left There To Float

Hey, Bobby. Put your nipple away.

“He’s, uh, on vacation, too.”

True. Whatcha doing?

“Puzzling at this fellow’s choice of beach-footwear.”

I probably wouldn’t go with a loafer.

“Gotta let the dogs out when you’re on vacation.”

He’s not on vacation, Bobby. He’s at work.

“I kinda am, too.”

Not that you’d know it. What happened with the livestream?

“It’s better now. I started taking palmetto root.”

Not that stream. I’m talking about the webcast.

“Exterminators took care of that.”

The internet, Bobby. They usually play your shows on the internet.

“Do they now? Wow. 21st century, huh?”

The stream on Thursday night was shitty to the point of people complaining, and then canceled tonight’s ‘cast without much of an explanation.


Any idea what happened?



“Rebels in the hills?”

There are no rebels in the hills, Bobby. You’re on the Mayan Riviera.

“Weird how the Mayans named their coast something French.”

What I’m hearing is that you have no idea what happened.

“In my defense, there’s, like, eight layers of people that bullshit has to flow through before I get involved.”

True. Follow the rules of water safety.

“Always assume the boat is loaded, and keep your finger off the rudder.”

Close enough.

Dancin’ In The Streets

The Grateful Dead wasn’t a political band; remember that. When the kids took the campus, they showed up and choogled, but they weren’t political. They played benefits in support of the Black Panthers and against the death penalty, but they weren’t political. They raised money for the rainforest, and for Amnesty International, and…well, here:

What the organizations above have in common is this: they represent the little guy.

That’s what politics is. It’s a fight between the big guy and the little guy. And the Dead have always taken David’s side.

But remember: they weren’t a political band.

After Many A Peaceful Evening, A Late-Night Call Comes For Maggie Haberman


“Jesus. Fuck, I’m awake. I’m awake. Nothing but old bits tonight, huh? Hello?”

“Good evening, Ms. Haberman. This is Robert J. Mueller.”

“It’s three in the morning, Mr. Mueller.”

“I stopped sleeping two months ago; I just don’t have the time. We’re drinking from the firehose of stupidity in my office.”

You dropped some big indictments today.”

“Big? Please. You ain’t seen nothing yet. I was quoting Al Jolsen there, Ms. Haberman.”

“I understood the reference.”

“Obviously, I was not wearing blackface when I said it.”

“It hadn’t crossed my mind until you brought it up. So, today wasn’t big?”

“All I did today is whip it out. Not only have I not yet begun to fuck, but I haven’t even gotten hard yet. And I’m a thorough lover, Ms. Haberman.”


“I’m setting the stage. Previously, there was a strong contingent sticking with the ‘Russia did nothing wrong’ line. They’ll abandon that now for ‘No collusion.’ Then I’m gonna prove unwitting collusion, and they’ll accept that and retreat to ‘We didn’t commit treason on purpose.’ From there, we’ll get Junior to flip and testify to willful collusion. The argument will then be ‘The President himself didn’t do anything wrong.'”

“And then?”

“And then, Bob Mueller’s gonna cum justice all over America’s face.”

“Are you all right?”

“I’ve been drinking.”

“I gathered.”

“You would, too. My job is getting depressing. Everyone’s so damned dumb. Those Russian hackers? Those super-cyber warriors? They were posting selfies from work on Instagram and hashtagging it #internationalespionagelol.”

“Not stealthy.”

“Everyone involved in this asshole parade is the opposite of a ninja. You know ninjas, Ms. Haberman? Japanese, quiet?”

“I am aware of ninjas, yes.”

“The opposite. You can see them coming, and they leave nothing but evidence. And none of them are Japanese.”


“Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yakuza showed up in this. Russians, Americans, Mafia, Chinese businessmen.”

“Chinese businessmen?”

“They’re like Ferengi. I think they smelled the corruption all the way from Beijing and floated here led by their noses like Pepe LePew when he got a whiff of skunk-puss.”

“They were usually cats, Mr. Mueller.”

“Puss-puss. You know what I mean. Oh, and the Israelis.”


“That’s offensive, Ms. Haberman. I thought you were better than that.”

“Oh, wow, you’re right. I’m sor–”

“Of course it was fucking Jared. He loves those hummusfuckers. Promised Natanyahu that if Trump was elected, Israel could start bombing the shit out of Gaza again.”

“Make Israel great again?”

“I shit you not: those were the exact words the pale little fuck said to Bibi.”


“In return for some ‘campaign donations.'”

“Did you say that last phrase with quotation marks around it?”


“So you meant…”

“Briefcases full of cash.”

“Jesus. So you’re gonna indict some Israelis, too?”

“Mm, no. We made a deal with the Mossad in return for their help with…listen, Ms. Haberman: I’m working at unbelievably high levels here.”

“Apparently. So we’re just gonna concentrate on the Russians?”

“I’ve been waiting for my chance to get even with those tsarist fucks since the very first time Charlie shot at me with an AK47. This goes all the way to the top over there. I’m thinking about indicting Putin.”

“You’re going to indict Vladimir Putin?”

“No. I’m thinking about it. It makes me happy to do so. It’s going to be bittersweet charging the President of the United States with a crime. I wish I didn’t have to. But Putin? Fuck that guy.”

“Mr, Mueller?”


“How does this end?”

“One of two ways: poorly or terribly. And you wanna get down on your knees and pray for the first option.”

“Good night, Mr. Mueller.”

“Justice never sleeps, Ms. Haberman.”

Tall And Tanned And Lovely

This bit again?

“Life is cyclical; it bounds back to its place of birth.”

Do the end justify the means?

“It depends. What are the means?”

Mass murder.

“Then, no.”

What if it’s a reeeeeeally good end?

“Still a no.”

You’re a woman with strong beliefs.

“Principle is no vice.”

Do you have any body hair?

“I have no body hair.”

Wanna buy some?

“Sticking with no.”

What should we know about Mexico?

“Far more Germanic than you think.”

What should we know about America?

“Same thing.”

Define art.

“Do I look like Samuel Johnson?”

You look like the opposite of Samuel Johnson.

“Then let art define itself.”

Why must we know of death?

“We couldn’t plan funerals, otherwise.”

I feel like I made a good decision bringing this bit back. You wanna tongue kiss?

“Even if you weren’t repulsive, I’m currently dating a Wookfight.”


 Ah. Wookfight.



No, I was wrong. Horrible idea to bring this back. Sorry, everyone.

Dar Un Paso Atrás

It was around the 75th time some gringo in a tie-dye requested Mexicali that Gustavo snapped and began beating him with his chubby guitar.


ATTENTION FOREIGNERS: please do not wear native garb at me. It makes me feel colonialistic. I’m glad you have the gig, but you can totally wear your normal clothes.


The three guys in the middle with the trumpets? They were the Dead’s horn section in the September ’73 shows that David Lemieux hates so much and I adore. (He’s right. I love those shows because they’re terrible.)




Second from the left. I love that move, the violin tucked in with no hands. I remember watching a special with Itzhak Perlman as a kid, a master class kind of thing. He would bring students up and work with them, and he gestured as much as you would assume a man named Itzhak Perlman would, and the fiddle bobbed around and swerved and swayed. It made me very nervous.


“Why do they cheer when we sing the line ‘Soy capitan, soy capitan?'”

“No idea, Gustavo. Just don’t hit any more of them.”

“I promise nada.”

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