Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shotgun Tuesday

Happy February 20th. I don't know whether it's just Fat Tuesday but the weirdest triptych of events tied to this peculiar day keep popping up at me.

If you're of a musical inclination, today is Kurt Cobain's birthday. The future lead madman of Nirvana was born on February 20, 1967. He stuck around for a few years, married a stripper named Courtney, developed one hell of an ulcer, made a beautiful baby, bent everyone's sensibilities with five albums of brain-splintering music + lyrics, effectively killing hair metal, and split for other parts of the cosmos. The dumb son of a bitch would have been forty today.

For you literary types, today is the death of gonzo. At 5:42 in the afternoon of February 20, 2005, the good doctor Hunter S. Thompson left the world via self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His final column was about playing shotgun golf with Bill Murray, who portrayed Thompson in "Where The Buffalo Roam." On the typewriter in his office he had typed a single word: "Counselor."

And after those cheerful observations, there's this weird coda. It is, I kid you not, National Pancake Day. You can get a free short stack at IHOP in exchange for a donation to children's hospitals.

John Steinbeck would say that next up is Lousy Wednesday, which is the necessary precursor to "Sweet Thursday." I hope the author would have appreciated this weekend's Profitable Sunday, during which a rare edition of his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath sold at auction for a staggering $47,800. The family says the money will be used to fund the renovation of Steinbeck's bungalow in Pacific Grove, California, which seems a very decent aim.

Go eat pancakes. Read a little "Cannery Row." And for chrissakes, don't shoot anybody.

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