Can you believe it? Working full time for the first time in two years! The depths to which I have sunk are indiscernible.
now – or from 7:30 to 4 – we are completing the four weeks of training
hospital, with discarded texts and
disregarded nurses. The first two weeks were spent on what is called the circle wards, or the better wards, wards where the
men have enough marbles left to choose up sides and play the game, but these last two weeks we are being subjected to the
vegetables, the geriatrics, the organs eating and organs shitting and pissing and moaning and coming on in religious tongues,
creatures that need spooned puree and peplum, infants growing backwards, away from civilization and rationalization, back
to complete dependence, to darkness, the womb, the seed…
the day room. All twisted out of shape by so many years. Ellis: with
it was that frightened him
absolutely out of his mind, standing right before his aghast eyes, still gaping, horrified, outraged and farting in his fear.
Bewick: his face showing only a gnawed dissatisfaction, gnawed so deeply that he is finally and forever even dissatisfied
with that, and only whimpers tearlessly. Pete: grinning, shaking his happy old head, limping spryly about in his pajamas,
answering only one question; --“Why’d you quit driving the truck, Pete?” “I was ty-urd. Fo’twenny eight years, then I got ty-urd.”
Like old Buckly, who asserts, or answers when asked: “We had some fun, didn’t we? Sure, we gone have lots of fun.”
Or old Chartes, whose trigger-question is “How is your wife?” and whose screamed answer is “F-f-f-uh thuh wife! F-f-f-k the wife!”
You get to know them by their bits.
Remembering Dick Gregory
By Paul Krassner
first met Dick Gregory when he asked me to interview him for The
Realist in New York. I saw
when I was in Chicago. He was performing at the Playboy Club and invited me to his show. Two years p
reviously, Negro comedians performed only in Negro nightclubs, and Gregory was no exception.
But one evening the regular white comic at
Club got sick, and Gregory took his place. It made
Time magazine, and he was invited to perform on the Tonight Show, but he declined unless, after doing his stand-up
act, he would be asked to sit down and talk with Jack Paar. The gamble worked, and Gregory became an instant
celebrity, breaking through the color barrier with humor.
Eventually we became friends and fellow
Now he was performing at the Playboy Club,
not as a substitute comic but as a star attraction. They had to supply me with a jacket, and a tie that was decorated
all over with bunny symbols. Gregory was already on stage.
“How could Columbus discover America,” he was asking the audience, “when the Indians were already here?”
In his dressing
room between shows, Gregory took out his wallet and showed me a
of his favorite
poem, “If,” by Rudyard Kipling. I laughed and he looked offended, until I explained that I was laughing because
it was also my favorite poem, and “the unforgiving minute” was my favorite poetic phrase.
Gregory visited me on the lower east side of
The entire side of one building on that block featured
a fading advertisement for a cleanser personified by the Gold Dust Twins, a pair of little Negro boys. It had originally
been painted right on the bricks.
When he saw it, he said, “They ought to take that whole wall and preserve it in a museum somewhere.”
* * *
On a work-vacation in the Florida Keys with
Anita Hoffman in December in 1967. I followed a
neighborhood crow down the road, then continued walking to town by myself to use the telephone. First I called
Gregory, since it was his city Chicago that we were planning to invade the presidential convention in the 1968 s
ummer. He told me that he had decided to run for president, and he wanted to know if I thought Bob Dylan would
make a good vice president.
“Oh, sure, but to tell you the truth, I don't think Dylan would ever get involved in electoral politics.”
would end up with assassination researcher Mark Lane as his running
I called Jerry
Rubin in New York to arrange for a meeting when we returned.
At our counter-convention we all attended an
Unbirthday Party for President Lyndon Johnson at the
oliseum, with Ed Sanders, leader of the Fugs, serving as emcee. The atmosphere was highly emotional.
Dick Gregory recited the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence with incredible fervor. Fists were being
upraised in the audience as he spoke, and I thrust my own fist into the air for the first time.
* * *
When my marriage broke up in 1971 I moved to
Francisco and I had my own talk program. Gregory a
nnounced on my show that, until the war in Vietnam was over, he was going to stop eating solid foods. I in turn
announced that, until the war was over, I was going to eat all of Dick Gregory's meals. Actually, my only real
discipline was being silent one day a week.
When my young daughter Holly came out to stay
that summer, she decided to join me on my silent
day. We communicated with handwritten notes. Holly wrote, Does laughter count? Since we were making up
he rules as we went along, I answered, Yes, but no tickling. Naturally she tried to make me laugh, but I held it in –
and got a rush.
the energy that normally gets dissipated into the air with laughter
surge through my body instead. I
decided to stop laughing altogether, just to see what would happen. The more I didn't laugh, the more I found funny.
nd, paying closer attention to others, I refined my appreciation of laughter as another whole language that could often
be more revealing than words. Sometimes I would get a twinge of guilt if I nearly slipped and laughed, and I remembered
what I had always known, that children must be taught to be serious. When I mentioned my laugh-fast to Dick
Gregory, still on his food-fast, it didn't sound so far-fetched to him.
That's two things people do out of insecurity,” he said. “Eating and laughing.”
“Well, what would happen to us if everyone in our audiences realized that?”
“Brother, we'd go out of business.”
* * *
was invited to a Christmas party in 1977 by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. Gregory was at the
asked each of us to perform, but first he would take the microphone himself. To my surprise-shock that he wanted
me to publish his magazine beside The Realist while he traveled around the country to spread his (temporary) born-again Chrisianity.
On Thanksgiving Day, Gregory had been
front of the White House for protesting the lack o
f human rights in South Africa. Larry Flynt had a premonition that there would be an assassination attempt on Gregory.
Flynt contacted him a couple of weeks later, and they became friends. Gregory was now staying at Flynt's mansion
in Columbus, helping him change to a vegetarian diet. Flynt had already taken off forty pounds. On the day before
he Christmas party, Gregory was in the middle of giving himself an enema when Flynt walked in.
to Gregory, “Larry said, ‘Let me tell you about this fantastic guy I've
comin' out, and I don't know
what I'm gonna do yet but I just wanna talk with him.’ And I said, ‘Well, who is it?’ He said, ‘Paul Krassner.’ And I
just fell out, and said, ‘Are you serious? He's one of the hippest minds in the whole world.’ Then he came back and
said, ‘How long you been knowin' him?’ and I told him, ‘All through the sixties,’ you know. And I said it was a fantastic idea.”
the New Year Flynt flew Gregory and me to the Bahamas. Gregory was in
kitchen, diligently preparing
a health drink for Flynt – this must have been the birth of his Bahamian Diet powder – and he was also feeding unfiltered
conspiracy theories to his eager student.
At midnight, we all went out on the dock and
a misty drizzle as Gregory uttered truly eloquent prayers
for each of us. When he finished, Flynt’s wife Althea whined, like Lucy in the Peanuts strip, “My hair's getting all wet.”
It was her way of saying “Amen.”
New Year's Day, we were sitting in the sand, just relaxing. Flynt had
paperback novel by Gore
Vidal in the hotel store, but first he was reading the Sunday New York Times and worrying about the implications of
juries with only six members. A moment later he was rubbing suntan lotion on my back.
bet Hugh Hefner never did this for you,” he said.
Flynt had been traveling around a lot, but he happened to be back in
the same time that my friend
LSD guru Ram Dass was visiting, so I had the unique pleasure of introducing them. Larry, Althea, Ram Dass
and I went to a health-food restaurant, where we discovered that we shared something in common: we were all
practicing celibacy – Larry at the suggestion of Dick Gregory, Althea by extension, Ram Dass for spiritual purposes,
and me just for the sheer perversity of it.
Larry got shot down south by a racist nut because Hustler had a black naked model, Althea had
transformed the Coca-Cola Suite at Emory University Hospital into her office, where she was now studying t
he slides of the irreverent “Jesus and the Adulteress” feature. Dick Gregory was there, and he said, “This scares me.”
He was concerned about reaction in the Bible Belt, notwithstanding the fact that Hustler's research department had
already made certain that the text followed the Bible.
And now Althea was checking for any sexism
have slipped past the male editors’ limited consciousness.
The spread was already in page forms, but not yet collated into the magazine, and there was still a gnawing dilemma
about whether or not to publish it.
marketing people were aghast at the possibility that wholesalers would
to distribute an issue of the
magazine with such a blatantly blasphemous feature. Althea and I voted to publish. Gregory and editor Bruce
David voted not to publish. “I’m against it,” he said, “because this is an issue that just simply will not be distributed.”
with this crucial decision, Althea made her choice on the basis of pure
whimsicality. She noticed a
pair of pigeons on the window ledge. One of them was waddling toward the other. “All right,” she said, “if that
dove walks over and pecks the other dove, then we will publish this.” The pigeon continued strutting along the
window ledge, but it stopped short and didn’t peck the other pigeon, so publication of “Jesus and the Adulteress”
was postponed indefinitely.
course Dick Gregory continued to spread his diligent
activism until he died. He was a loss to me,
and to this country and around the world, but his powerful inspiration remains.
VIETNAM MARINE CORPS HELICOPTER BEING RESTORED
GREELEY TRIBUNE JULY18 2017
For more information on the progress of this project, go to http://www.shuflyflightassn.org
bodies of two old helicopters lay uncovered on Bob Fritzler's property.
tower over him as he
]walks by them on his way to his large garage.
had to use a giant trailer to haul them out to his farm with his truck.
imagined it felt a lot like
driving a semi. He doesn't worry much about what the weather might do to the old birds outside.
He's just using them for parts.
real treasure sits in that large garage on his land near Keenesburg.
working to restore a
U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky H-34 helicopter, which was flown during Operation SHUFLY during the
Vietnam War. Fritzler said it was one of the first helicopters built to drop off troops in combat.
then, Fritzler said, helicopters were a huge game changer for Marines.
could drop soldiers
off anywhere. Before they relied on ships, which required a coast.
now 82, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 11 years. He flew the
when he was a
pilot. Several other squadrons flew it too. He hopes to fix it up and eventually put it into the Smithsonian
Museum in Washington D.C.
went to a Marine reunion a couple years back. There, he met a man from
Oklahoma, Gerald Hail,
who restored old planes back to flyable conditions. Hail invited him out to fly and Fritzler accepted.
While out there, Fritzler noticed the H-34.
"I saw bullet hole patches," Fritzler said. "I knew I could count over 100 bullet holes."
bird had aged, much of the Marine Green paint had worn down to the
squadron number had been painted over with a different squadron's number, but he still recognized
the helicopter as the one he flew.
"I had a real love affair with it," Fritzler said.
asked Hail if he could buy it off him so he could restore it. Hail said
think about it. About a
month later, Hail called Fritzler and told him he'd donate the helicopter if Fritzler would fix it up.
been working on the restoration project here and there for a couple
fixing up machines. He grew up on a farm in Windsor and spent much of his life making farm equipment
run again. He thinks that made him fairly handy.
it's a lengthy process. It takes time to track down parts that are no
production. He bought
an old blue and white Marine helicopter for the parts. The previous owner had it certified for commercial
use and used it to lift large air conditioning units. Fritzler bought an old Army helicopter too.
of these (helicopters) are pretty complete," Fritzler said. Now he just
has to figure out which parts
the H-34 needs and which ones to take from the others.
He's not a teenager anymore either, Fritzler said, so his energy has a limit.
didn't take me long to realize I bit off more than I could chew,"
said. "I've had some help
from other guys."
works on it for a couple hours a day, sometimes more. He's mostly
pieces and finding the new ones to replace them.
when Fritzler looks back on his life as a pilot, he wonders if he
all the things he
remembers. It was a long time ago. He did two tours in Vietnam and did some airline flying too. But
his last flight in the cockpit was more than 20 years ago.
"I still love to fly," Frizler said.
He might not be able to pilot planes anymore, but this may be the next best thing.— Kelly Ragan writes features and covers health for The Greeley Tribune.