Bebop Assumes the Mantle of Bebop


     Here’s how I like to start one of these things.  I lunge a bit forward and put my lips right on the mic and I breath into it:

     “Awlright.  Alright. awriiiight. Baby.”

     This is Bebop Loco, baby and I’ve had it with tragedy.  There’s just so much bad news lately. And I’m so old that the bad things seem to come in quick flushes with hardly a breath between.  I’m assuming the mantle of the Bebop Boy, the Loved One, the Descendant of the Desert, the Swift-Running One, one who gets off work in the middle of the night and gets into his luminous green egg and sails out the old roads to the outskirts of town and the inskirts of the Desert and goes home after a quick Burger at the Frisko Freeze in FunFun Town to sleep until mid-afternoon and get up and go to work again. 

That’s Bodie in the hat up above. I didn’t really run over him, I guess, but I did hit him while backing up slowly.  He’s about sixteen now and his back legs got strained pretty bad and I just felt like hell until some xrays were taken and the true nature of his injuries revealed. Still…..

I can’t make these kinds of mistakes.  Life is too swift.

Too much, too much of consequence. I’m looking forward now to summer, when the old guy will put on his stupid straw hat and waddle out to the pasture to search the ground underneath the posts where the crows get fed.

Two newish chapters of Beaver Teeth are up, over there on the right.  I’ll get this up and running and maybe notify the FST list of the fact that I’m doing something here after what? two months of zero nothingness? Lost the hardrive on my computer two weeks ago and had to replace everything. Trying to redo the kids house and sell it in the worst real estate market in human history. 

Ran over my own dog.

Summer better get here someday, that’s all I have to say.  That and some order to life. And purpose. And direction.

And meaning.

48 thoughts on “Bebop Assumes the Mantle of Bebop

  1. Phil,

    I’ve got your back, friend, if nothing more than a listening ear and any other self contained body part up for use in this run-of-bad-luck.

    Sort this one out, one at a time and hold Big Blond close. Ther’s a story in all this experience, maybe more. Keep your ears open and your heart in the right place.

    a.k.a. Benard Flapdoodle (with the missing ‘n’ )

  2. The days are lengthening. That is good. Every day, there’s a little more light, a little less darkness in the crevices, in the folds, in the hidden places.

    I just heard of a house selling–I don’t think it was a dream–so it can happen. Although most everything around here is “For Rent” signs, and I wouldn’t wish being a landlord on my most tenacious creditor (my new favorite phrase), never mind people I esteem.

  3. The best thing about running over your dog is that he won’t have to forgive you because he won’t even be mad at you in the first place, not even one little bit. He knows you didn’t mean it, he loves you like crazy and he knows you are a wonderful, kind guy who lives to scratch him behind the ears and give him food and take him places. It’s the faith that is so endearing- so don’t feel guilty, as you are the guy he thinks you are.

    Aswad Ino

  4. Phil –

    Bebop, and you too, his luminous alter egg-o, have the Hat, but Bodie, he has the Hatitude. I know, I feel it myself, even going forward is going in reverse. The Desert, though, that’s a place you can horse around with No-Name. ‘My name is Nobody,’ Odysseus answered, when one-eyed Polyphemus asked who he is. The one-eyed, they’re blinded by their search for ‘somebody’, because that’s some kind of ‘news’, good or bad, little difference, but in the Desert, and though it can’t free you of sorrows, or the mistakes, or the commedia of consequence, your dog, perfectly himself and in his own nature, wears the Hat. The age of the world, and our aging little person in it, the Bodie Hat shelters it all, the Bodie Heart gives refuge to it all.

    Thomas Merton wrote some essays, made a book of them, called it “Raids On The Unspeakable”. Direction, purpose, meaning escaped him in all directions, and, moreover, he let them. He knew that what he really found would not let itself be spoken.

  5. Hey Phil,

    Though life sucketh from time to time, YOU should remember that the glorious insanity you and your henchmen provided on all of your albums is STILL and ALWAYS WILL BE a source of relief, joy, wonder, and don’t forget humor for SOOOOOOOO many of us. Watch out for dogs and other rodents. Well, never mind the rodents.

    So sit back and enjoy scratching Bodie. My dog, Chewie, never seems to get enough.

  6. Phil: What Paul said. What the others said. Life does suck at times, and as we get older, and indeed unfortunate incidents and tragedies, large and small, seem to happen more frequently. The good news is Bodie loves you unconditionally no matter what happens. And he’s still around to show you that.

    Thanks for talking to us through Bebop. I miss the man, he rocks my world.

    It is such a continuing privilige to have opportunities like this to write to you. Paul reminds us of the countless hundreds of hours of pure joy and hiliarity the FT has given us for almost 40 year, and what a great source of relief the FC catalogue is from reality; he is absolutely accurate . In your darkest moments, remember there are so many of us who are eternally grateful for those hours of joy.

    Recently I drove to and from Calgary, and listened to the entire Nick Danger boxed set. Glorious, pure gold.

    Thank you for it all.

    Here comes summer.

  7. Phil,

    Everything is up from this point. It’s just a matter of identifying true bottom, a simple reference point, like being plum off of center crazy, once and a while.

  8. Ah yea, dog like speed bumps – I think I’ve done that before, and, you lucked out,he will still wear your floppy old straw hat. summer would be good, yes.

    April in Monterey will be good, methinks. You and the boys together again, Me and Jana and this time I drag her up to meet with you all. yep, that should be one fine time. Tell the Lovely One I am reserving a big hug.


  9. I just read an interesting interview in the March issue of “The Sun” magazine with a gent named Nicholas Carr on how he thinks the internet is rewiring our brains. Apparently it is shaping “pancake people” who are spread wide and shallow by flitting from link to link for tidbits of info instead or reading and thinking deeply, as in sitting down with a book for an hour and actually being able to not have your mind wander. Phil, I had the thought that this topic could be excellently addressed by your Firesign group as part of a look at who we are these days. We are due for assessment. Not to try and tell anyone what to do. I just know that if you reply to an email from Satan, you’d better cc the Lord.

    My book report as far as page 76 of “The Centaur” by Updike is that this book is psychedelic. Way wilder than I expected. It starts with a guy teaching scool who gets shot through the ankle with a metal arrow (am I to believe this or is it just allegory?) so he limps to the local auto repair shop to get it welder-cut removed. Etc. Then he turns into a satyr, etc.

    Leif Isweird

  10. Just reach above the bar and press the button right there, under the handy laminated imitation masonite Wild-West gun rack, with the look of real wood, for the channel of your choice! But then again, in the Estonian Mountains, we used to go to sleep leaning up against a wind-fall in the Mindless Fellowship Pravillion! In the end, Who Am Us Anyway??

  11. On Monday, a meteor about 100 feet wide passed pretty close to Earth. Pretty close in this case is 40,000 miles, which even I know is just an eyelash in space distances. The newsman said it would have made an impact like 100 Hiroshima-sized nukes. I guess this proves that there either is or isn’t God. Who feels lucky?

    Luke Yee

  12. Phil:
    Icy sends strength to Bodie for rapid repair.
    I’m listening to Fools in Space for the first time and noticed my name being used in the November show, (Dex alerted me to this in chat) in relation to my stories in the Krassner trilogy (Pot Stories for the Soul, Psychedelic Trips for the Mind and Magic Mushrooms and Other Highs). Hearing you play with my last name on air was more of a trip than any I’ve ever been on.

  13. Minutes passing and some time later, he’s somewhat clearer than before and catching that short nap that occurs at an early hour. As with all other cases, they easily find sleep, while mine is elusive and still quite awake. Someone has to be on watch to verify that. It just can’t go unsaid and assumed, things mysteriously turn right for no reason and really not intentional to begin with, like the Titanic wasn’t suppose to be a ship, but somebody made the mistake, left unattended and checked.

  14. My Dearest and Beloved Jill,

    This is from Leonard to me, about me without you:

    “And summoned now to deal
    With your invincible defeat
    You live your life as if it’s real
    A thousand kisses deep.”

    Run over as I am, assume me in your arms.

    May G-D kiss you for me,

    your Robert

  15. My wife & our doggie, Katie, just came home while I’m reading the comments from others, still a little in shock over what you describe as: “ran over my own dog”. I don’t know if that’s the worst thing you’ve ever done but I do know this… Take a look at the denizens of hate called animal shelters. Take a look at the snipetts of “Animal Cops” on “Animal Planet”. Take a look at the gang members jerking the leashes of pit-bulls. Take an asprin & call me in the morning, Phil.
    Damn cute-ass dog he was.

  16. Timmy:

    Omigod, I blew it. I didn’t kill Bodie. He’s fine and limping a bit, but definitely ok.

    I’ve got to be more clear about things of life, death and dogs. Thanks for pointing this out.


  17. Lassie would like to point out that Timmy is trapped in the well, well. While I no longer remember the question, I do recall concluding that love is the answer.

    Bessie Mae Mucho

  18. My favorite cd these days: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby. All us doggies here do do love this music. Cheaper to buy or sample on I Tunes. Would send you all a copy but don’t want to land in jail time with all those creepy crooks. Surprise guest appearance on the 24th still possible, perhaps probable, so intriguing to imagine all of us in the flesh and fine tones of older and wiser bliss.

    Como Si Fuera

  19. It’s a limp…but it’s not Sirius. He’s still your Bodiesattva. And after all, Phil, Bodie’s ancestors did fly spaceships. He’ll be fine, just fine. Think: Ferlinghetti’s poem “Dog”. Think: Ed Dorn’s poem “The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot”. Think: Nat King Cole singing “Orange Colored Sky”.

    Mark: Leonard, reporting from The Future, sings that he’s “seen the nations rise and fall, heard their stories, heard them all, but love’s the only engine of survival.” The Psalms in a sentence.

    And speaking again of hats and the Hat, Stephen Berg, in his “Elegy on Hats”, writes: “The wish to solve a problem always means that the problem will outlive the limitations of language. Kneeling is the only solution.”

    Down I go,

    Chemo Sabi

  20. I like Dana’s idea of everyone appearing in the flesh but for those who can only be there in spirit, if you could please send your disembodied souls that would be nice also. I think.

    Harriet Furstglanz
    (I am anxious about exploring my femside)

  21. Hi you guys. I forgot about this blog for six months. Like I sometimes forget about “Doonesbury” for six months. I’m caught up now.

    Len, I also noticed in December that Stephen Fry had used the phrase “Everything you know is wrong” repeatedly in one of his blog entries. So when he came to Los Angeles last month to shoot an episode of Bones I figured I should introduce him to the originators of said useful catchphrase. Stephen’s on Twitter and on Feb. 10 he posted this picture taken from his hotel window.

    I live in Burbank and know L.A.’s Westside somewhat, so I stared hard at the picture and consulted GoogleMaps and within just a half hour I was able to deduce that he was staying at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. I sent over a CD of Firesign material, and he emailed me to say “You kind clever fellow!… I am so touched by the CD and will play it tonight” (which is nice, considering he could have written me to say “You scary person, cease stalking me this instant”).

  22. I suspect I’m way behind you guys in volumes read and written, but I am working my way through Nabokov chronologically. I reached this line in The Defense (a.k.a. The Luzhin Defense) yesterday and just about flipped. I feel like Bram every time I try to have a production-related conversation with a member of The Firesign Theatre. (I should clarify – I experience his time crunch and his logorrhea, but never his harmony.)

    Mrs. Luzhin was listening smilingly to what was being said by the tall, pockmarked journalist Bars, and thinking how difficult it would be to seat these guests around one tea table and would it not be better in future simply to serve them wherever they sat? Bars spoke very fast and always as if he were obliged to express a tortuous idea with all its riders and slippery appendages in the shortest possible period of time, to prop up and readjust all this, and if his listener happened to be attentive, then little by little he began to realize that this maze of rapid words was gradually revealing an astonishing harmony, and that the speech itself with its occasional incorrect stresses and journalese was suddenly transformed, as if acquiring its grace and nobility from the idea expressed.

  23. Taylor, this is very good news from you indeed, that you are reading Nabokov from one end to the other. Perhaps, and I hope, you will be our Nabokov reader here, writing for us, somewhat more frequently that at six month intervals, about what you read, “with all its riders and slippery appendages”. That second sentence in the quotation you give, it is that ‘long sentence’ akin to the ‘long sentence’ Phil works with in “Beaver Teeth”, a story, a Town, characters all with “slippery appendages”, and the Narrator, who is trusted to make sense of everything (because he can and knows he can), the most “slippery” of all.

    Slipping into something more appendage,


  24. Taylor: You are without doubt a “kind, clever fellow,” and I admire the initiative it took to get him a CD. If he is not delighted with it, he’s not the person I expect him to be.

    I haven’t taken the Nabakov plunge yet. I may save him with some of the other masters for my old age, when I’ll need the company.

    I. Ben Reeden

  25. Set my intimidation factor on “none,” as I have read way more TV Guide than Nabakov. Which doesn’t mean that I’m not looking for a good recommendation! Which one is just right for guys like me?

    Buck Subtle

  26. Bodie will seek his revenge the next time you step in it, this summer, while trekking across the lawn. Don’t mind that wheezing little laugh, close to the ground, it’ll be your K-9 thinking, “Yes, I can!”

  27. Speaking of band names, I for one think that supergroup powertrio Len Warm (guitar), Sheldon Pink (drums) and Phil Willing (bass) totally missed an opportunity when they named their group “Len, Sheldon and Phil.”

    Standish Indurain

  28. Raymond Chandler died fifty years ago this week…here’s a nice appreciation at the LA Weekly:

    “…perhaps most of all, we remember him as one of the great American literary stylists, capable of tossing off lines like these:

    ‘Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumor, except that the cop would rather cure it with a blackjack.’

    ‘A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.’

    …And, a personal favorite: ‘It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.'”

  29. Taylor, thanks for the link. Since I’m a big Chandler fan, the article was a treat. My favorite Marlowe line is one from The Big Sleep in which Marlowe describes the orchids General Sternwood grows in his hothouse: “The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men.” And that, my friend, is great writing.

  30. I am back in the library in Montrose, CO. This computer lacks that cowboy smell. The train went right through Thompson Springs, UT, in the early morning light but refused to sidetrack up the canyon to the alien petroglyphs… so near and yet so far, Bob. All eyes were on the canyon though, except in cases where there were no eyes (just neck tattoos) wherein all contact was avoided, naturally. Also to avoid: the microwave snackbar cheeseburger. The semiconductor of our CA Zephyr announced that part of “Thelma and Louise” was filmed in Thompson Springs. It appears that there is still a bit of a film all over it. And so it goes- now I am off to get the assigned bucket of chicken and a movie.


    Video Grump

  31. Hey Bopster!

    When the world is bringing you down and the fates are playing two armed tarot, pentacles wild,with your soul, something someone said once always puts things into perspective.
    I quote:

    “Ying Tong Iddle I Po”!

    From Spike Milligna, the well known typing error.
    and with that I say “Hope all is well with you and yours and as I was unable to see the 4 or 5 in Monterey hope to say Hilleeww! in person again someday!

  32. “Apparently it is shaping “pancake people” who are spread wide and shallow by flitting from link to link for tidbits of info instead or reading and thinking deeply, as in sitting down with a book for an hour and actually being able to not have your mind wander.”

    Sorry, my mind wandered a minute. What were you talking about?

    Uncle Phil the Radio Voice, always remember how much love is directed towards your antenna. And thanks for being the one that never abandoned us.

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