[Archive] [majorlinksl


Date: May 19 1996 4:35 PM EDT
From: (Tom & Nancy Melito)

Dear Robert,

Continued kudos on a job very well done. Your journal is always a treat,
and the mailbag has more than sufficiently expressed my sentiments on the
matters at hand, especially the situation regarding GDP. One minor nit
regarding the "Giant's Harp," (which I have found to be strikingly beautiful
in places). You have introduced many characters (all of which have
non-standard names), which makes it difficult to keep track of all of them
week to week. This probably wouldn't be a problem if I read it all at once,
but in the spirit of 19th century serialization, I'm reading it as it comes.
How about a mini-glossary?

The main reason I'm writing is in response to your "Self-Reliance/1996,"
page, which was present for only a few days. This document spurred quite a
bit of discussion between my wife and I. I found it to be very moving and
thought provoking, expressing many of my own beliefs on religion and
individuality. Her reaction was less positive. She was put off by your
comment that "culture is disintegrating," and your association of this with
the millennium. She quite fairly points out that such sentiments have been
raised as far back as Cicero and are quite often used by the forces of

My own reading of it focused on your thoughts on private conscience, the
corrosiveness of the fear of Hell, and rebellious spirits. She focused on
your use of rhetorical tools that have sometimes been used to launch (and
excuse) the very oppression you decry. Certainly fueled quite a bit of debate.

I'm personally not ready to declare the end of culture, or anything else
with the coming of the next millennium. My own (clearly warped) perspective
sees the potential for both the greatest and worst age of mankind ahead.
The tools and capacities that are or will be available to individuals are
extraordinary, truly magical from an historical perspective. But the same
underlying narrowness and fear persists, ready to toss it all away for just
a little certitude and safety.

I'm also not sure what the state of our culture is (or how to judge it). My
most precious outlet for creativity and community is now gone (or undergoing
a major transformation), but quite a bit exists (or will emerge) to sustain
my spirit. Experience Babylon-5 if you haven't already or the music of the
Indigo-Girls. The Internet has offered me a lifetimes worth of exploration,
with just the click of a mouse. I suspect that the schlock that attracts
and drives the masses has forever been so (and I feel uncomfortably elitist
to make even that generalization). What factors are you basing your
pessimism on?

I hope the days ahead are bright ones for the organization. You are quite
correct to reject the notion of us sending money. I'm an economist by
profession, and GDP does need to stand the market test to truly survive.
Your greatest resource is an open minded, adventurous and dedicated
clientele. Deadheads will embrace your efforts as long as you keep
approaching it in the right spirit. Let us look back on this time as the
"Days Between."

Tom Melito

Tom and Nancy,

first - thanks for the good words on my site. Will get right to work on all points, including the text only files and a short index of the Giant's Harp characters. My dad had the same objection and thought I should change the names for easier reference, but they just seem to be the appropriate names for those characters and there you have it.

Nancy's points are well taken. The essay was actually written in 1992 and only edited recently - mostly cuts where it wandered too far afield. It was originally written as an exercise in borrowing the tone, vocabulary and stylistics of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the early 19th century New England transcendentalist. His style is kin to Wordsworth. Nancy is correct in detecting the style of the "oppressor" in this, though Emerson was part of the solution, rather than the problem. High falutin' words in just that tone, the "official voice" of the dominant western male, in service of imperialism and the status quo, were the problem.

I am what I am, and cannot escape being: a western male writer. Obviously the "culture" which my upbringing has taught me to represent is western, with its roots in Europe. I've always found it convenient to go with it, rather than try to become what someone else is and never quite make the grade.

When that culture dies, my work dies with it, based as it often is on traditional modes of West European song filtered through Appalachia and re-shaped by 1001 pop and folk influences. I don't know what continuing pluralization of culture portends, but one would be foolish to fight dynamic change or put it down.

This leaves a writer of my age, limits and experience, with some pretty big problems. I look for alternatives in that existential situation and sometimes believe I've found them. If western culture is dissolving in the face of plurality, which it seems it must do, it would seem reasonable to help usher it out gracefully, aware that when it goes, I go with it.

The upside of this, personally, is that I'll be of an age to go out with it - no complaint there. The melancholy of the situation is the understanding that there may be no place for what I've left behind in a hyper-pluralized technologically oriented society of the future, except as an artifact of the attitudes of the oppressor. I'm already painfully aware of how few it speaks to. The content itself will no longer be meaningful, especially as the language evolves into an efficient global hyperglot and formulaic communication techniques become the norm of human interaction. I won't personally mind missing out on that phase of evolution, but people will still be people and hearts will be hearts. Perhaps racial/gender/religious intolerance will be vanquished by a century long re-integration following intensive pluralization. If this turns out to be the case, if such a Utopia can be realized, disease get conquered and everyone fed, housed and provided with amenable work, the disintegration of western culture should be priority number one on everyone's agenda.

Nostalgia, the number one enemy of the post-modern phase of the transition, is probably the single greatest stumbling block on the way to Utopia: the chauvinistic tendency to get misty over one's early roots despite their non-alliance with rational pluralist standards. Ooh - there goes that language of the oppressor again. Every time I write an essay! Like Grace Slick said "The human race doesn't mean shit to a tree." No more than my well-fed dialogue does to the starving.

I find dialectic of any stripe unconvincing, from Thomas Aquinas to Jefferson to Marx, trusting more to the intuitive resonance of what I choose to believe and propagate, hence my severely non-political stance as reflected in the Grateful Dead. My party huddles around the fire singing "don't murder me!"

Self-Reliance, ala Emerson, may only be sublimated egotism for all I know. Yet, I think, in general, it's a good tool for an artist if not for a politically enlightened proletariat. Not everyone has the luxury. This is understood. And that's all I have to say about my quirky attempt at an essay. Excuse the presumption.


Subj: Bike Raffle
Date: May 20 1996 11:36 AM EDT
From: (Michael Yacavone)


The URL for the bike raffle gives an Error 404--URL not found. This
might explain the low response! Or maybe not--'coulda broken just today.

Your work on is very uplifting and very deep. A heartfelt thank
you. Reading your journal makes me realize how much we each have to
offer. It inspires me to write more. Hopefully, I'll work up with
something that matters. However, I'm also learning to not let that weight
stop me from starting. Thanks for the life-lesson pointers.

I just *love* seeing things like the original notes for Ripple! Thanks.



thanks for reporting. You're the only one who has done so, which shows about how busy the raffle site is.

Glad you like the page. I try to keep it hopping.


Subj: multithreaded letter(long)
Date: May 19 1996 11:09 PM EDT
From: (Tyrone 'Rocketman' Slothrop)

A bunch of quick-take responses to mailbag items & such:
I'm with Xian on the well thing- I've never had the dough (or, honestly,
the time to burn; from what I know those conferences would eat what
little is left of my life) to join, but they have positive energy like
literally no other site on the net.
I've been surprised that Barlow is not involved in Deadnet. I know he's
busy,'s just such fertile ground, and he is a Class A heavyweight
net.presence. If there's no real reason, or it's none of my business, nemmind.
The movie script is hysterical. Of course you realize computer animations
have reached the point that something in that line would almost be *doable*;
which isn't the point, yes I know, but it's an amusing idea. Good to see
some cussing on the site finally. OK if I turn you in to the feds? Kidding.

Ghods, is it difficult to express thing like irony or sarcasm *safely* in
email; I dislike emoticons and won't use them. Though it's all just
language, email, newsgroups and the like are so frigging postmodern it's
sick- every written item is being digested & interpreted in who knows how
many different contexts. Coupled with the 'poor impulse control' problem
(flaming; that is, when folks a)don't take the time to rethink before
sending and/or b) don't care 'cause they figure there's no repercussions
from mistreating another person as long as they're somewhere else) this
style problem makes the internet a much less civil place than it should be.

(ahem) another problem is the proliferation of excessively lengthy asides
*muffled cough*
put a navigation bar on *every* page on the site, bro. Anyone who enters
anywhere but the front Dead page has a terrible time getting around- you
have to go edit the URL if the Back button doesn't take you anywhere. I
know you're trying to get folks to enter thru but you shouldn't
penalize those who don't, who may have good reasons (such as bookmarking
the Hotline page in an effort to keep up with the chaos surrounding the
Veneta show, and then wishing to visit your pages after checking in there)
to enter in a subsidiary location. A site as humongous as Deadnet is
gonna be needs an efficient navigation system; this, in my opinion, is
the *only* legitimate use of frames, if you're up to that.
okay, my actual reason for writing- yes, I have one- was sparked by your
exchange with the writer named Melody:

Can you fix my 'puter? You see, the damn, kidding again...

About finding """God""" (a concept so nebulous one set of quotes fails to
do it justice) on the internet: a very interesting question. Your answer,
as I remember, was more or less that God is everywhere so why not the
Net? Well, though that's true (or at least it's what Gautama Buddha,
Albert Einstein or Mr. Natural would say if you could get a straight
answer out of them) it seems to miss a bit of the point.

God, or Whatever, may be Everywhere, but some parts of it are a lot more
interesting than others. The part that the GD were uniquely good at was
building something that for lack of a better term I call hypercommunity;
community that at times, to a point, begins to erase the distinction
between the individuals within it. Not in a fascist or regressive way,
never without permission (theoretically), the love which drives the
formation of such a hypercommunity gradually blurs or spreads each within
the group out over the whole.

(the mechanism for this may be one of the great many things which will become
more clear in the relatively near future- the works of Danah Zohar & Ken
Wilber, especially, and most especially when taken together, seem to be useful
in approaching the How, for those who care. Both are writers with ideas
strong enough to cause out-of-body experiences in unprepared readers)

Now, if I'm right, the Unspoken Thing, IT, the thing that happened at
shows that we all want to make sure keeps happening as regularly as
possible- it has something to do with that merging, the loss of capital-S
Self in the big Whatever It Is that forms over the floor. Subjective
perception of it varies infinitely, from "wow, I just really got out of
my head and danced" to "and then I Melded my Soul with the Great Spiral
Floating Group-Mind Thingy and Entered the Infinite" & many more besides.
But the ability to join together, and the implications that gift has, is
the treasure we are trying to protect...right? Once you've been There
with someone they are nevermore a stranger...right?

Can we do That over the internet? Of course not. It's useless in that
regard, science fiction "jack-in your brain" hoo-ha aside. Even if such a
thing were available the idea of plugging my actual nervous system into
something as badly designed as the Net seems incredibly stupid. No, I think
we'll need to keep gathering, for the foreseeable future anyway. Shucks.

Is the Net useless, then? Once again: of course not! It's a communication
tool, and if we use it as such to aid to our efforts in Real Reality
rather than an attempted replacement we can get a lot out of it. Frankly
I thinks it's a lot like psychedelics in this respect: not enough to save
the world by itself, but quite useful nonetheless (as well as being fun,
scary and difficult to understand or control) when used well. Like any
other tool, I guess.

So: we can talk about It; we can plan when and where to do It; we can
chat about how to do It, and why we should; we can try to figure what the
next step after that might be; we can perform all manner of useful
auxiliary functions to It on the net.

I love what you're doing with the site. I think it's critical. In
geekspeak, it's an efficiency multiplier, allowing us to focus our energy
with greater effectiveness, as well as being the penultimate networking tool
(second after the shows themselves). Just don't get carried away. Garbage
In, Garbage Out, my man- if none of us has a clue what to do next, all
the fancy technical crap in the world won't help a bit.

Yeah, we mostly know we're the Grateful Dead now, by the way. Actually I
allus' kinda thought that, or that it was y'all and us and everyone all
Together (hi y'all) at the same time.

oh well- enough drilling for one night!

Erisian Fields Productions
"...what possesses our audience I can never know. But I feel its effects.
From the stage you can feel it happening- group mind, entrainment, find
your own word for it- when they lock up you can feel it; you can feel the
energy roaring off them."
-Mickey Hart (w/Jay Stevens), _Drumming at the Edge of Magic_


yeah, well, I know, like, man, I'm just whumpin up a little thingus in the flurry for whatever the hell & ain't afeard to make an idjit of myself. I know the net ain't ice cream, but any stoat in a form, innit? And so what if you get lost navigating deadnet? That's what you're supposed to do: lost, confused and left with a feeling of rational abandonment. What the hecks a sidebar? The net is half 3 zillion pages of badly formatted type with 72 dpi images - and half a dream of access to unlimited information which probably boils down to AUM or YodHeVaHe depending on whether you view it slantwise or head on.

Barlow's got an open invite. He's fourteen kinds of net-heavy and no mistake. He's out fighting the big fight while I rassle with HTML and play tip the elephant with Louise. To each his own.

As for newsgroups, civilizing them would be a mistake and about as reasonable to attempt as training ants to stand at attention on a Snicker's bar. One of the things the internet does real well is to provide a place for people to fume and cuss about the pointlessness of it all. Plus bust any and all attempts at pretension. As for usefulness - just how useful can somebody's estimation of the latest performance by a pack of minstrels trying to make a living with notes and bad rhyme while promoting their latest record be? You must care passionately for some particular pack to glean much significance from its set list. But hell, that's the first amendment in action and long may she wave.

There is, of course, a rush of POWER at the thought that your writing will enter the eyeballs of numerous readers and excite comment. I'm as guilty as the next of rubbing that particular magic lamp. For instance, that ridiculous "Fractals of Familiarity" essay, or the quasi-Emersonian "Self-Reliance" piece. I leave them on the site to convince myself that a little presumption goes a long way.
Have decided not to take my job as Webmaster so seriously. Everybody can do their own time with their homepages. I wouldn't appreciate someone sticking their nose in my goings-on here. I used to treat the web like a high-strung steed, but after 3 months of full time application (equivalent to two years of normal workdays) I begin to realize she's just a hound dog that waits under the table hoping somebody will drop a steak - and when they don't, gets up on the table and eats the butter when the family is watching TV.

Emoticons are a substitute for lack of italics in email and will probably drop away when the slanties are finally enabled. I find the absence of accenting features provocative. HTML offers them, but they look so ugly I try to find a way around italics - which is, of course, to construct your sentence so that the rhythm produces the accent naturally on the intended beat. I have, on occasion, appreciated an emoticon that let me know I was being jostled rather than shoved. :) :( {drama emoticons}

The movie was in fact created around the suggestion of a $30 million dollar budget with automaton animation. The studio suggested I write some love interest into it. A word to the wise guy is sufficient and I bolted. I came THAT close to spending the next year or two rewriting script under the tutelage of "those who know better than me" at a fat salary. Whew! It was suggested I move to Hollywood.

er - what's a frame" Of which the only legitimate use of is? Let's see, I'll look in Xian's Internet Dictionary (Crumlish, Sybex press).
Ah, here it is: " frame (n) A block of data encapsulated with a header and trailer for transmission over a network."
Thanks, Xian! I will look up header and trailer later and get on with my letter.

Danah Zohar & Ken Wilber? How could anybody named Ken cause out of body experiences among the unprepared? Mark, Lance, or Carlos perhaps, but . . .Ken? I'm not even sure a Kenneth could do it, but maybe I'm just prejudiced because that's my brother's name. I remember a Madame Zohar who read fortunes at Playland at the Beach in SF. You put a nickel in her and got a card. Any relation?

Concerning the net, you wrote: not enough to save the world by itself, but quite useful nonetheless (as well as being fun, scary and difficult to understand or control) when used well.

I much prefer that statement without the parenthesis, to wit:
quite useful nonetheless as well as being fun, scary and difficult to understand or control when used well.

Right then, Tyler - it was great fun reading and answering your letter. Kind of a mood I'm in today after a Monday morning spell at the office watching the sunset. O my Brother, the pain is past telling. Let us make light of it for awhile.

Robert Hunter

Subj: frames, etc
Date: May 27 1996 3:55 PM EDT
From: (Tyrone 'Rocketman' Slothrop)

Enjoyed your reply to my mail quite a bit; it's been simmering for the
last week or so, and in the next few days I'll have time to compose my
response to the important bits. For now, though, an answer to the trivial

Frames are an HTML artifact that split the viewing screen into two or
more separate scrollable areas. For example a very small 'mini-index'
window can run across one edge of the screen, acting as a navigation bar
(with links to the top level pages or wherever) that's always available
no matter where in the chaos you've descended to. This way you don't have
to put all that code (for the navigation links & logo if there is one) on
every page. Unfortunately, I've spent the last half hour surfing looking
for a site that uses frames in this manner and can't find one, though I
used to have a few bookmarked, dammit.

When used badly they make the screen cluttered and unusable. Frequently
studmuffin HTML jocks designing on 21" monitors split the screen up 3 or
sometimes even 4 ways in an attempt to be monster kyewel or whatever- a
title/nav window, a graphics window with Java or something in it, a main
window and on some sites an ad window. For a yucky-frames site, one of
very many (though they're going out of style now, by the blessing of Kuan
Yin, the bodhisattva of mercy and compassion), check out:

which is from memory, it might need a ~twiddle in there somewhere. Love
the band, love the author, hate the site.

Of course, as the Too Many Frames trend dies out, on comes the
Java/Shockwave avalanche. *sigh* by next month everyone will have dancing
logos and such, I reckon. Oboy! Another way to keep folks from noticing
lack of content!

By the way, I allus' kinda liked the chili peppers. Not enough to vote or
anything, but I never figured out what the complaining was about.

Oh yeah- just heard some stuff from the mystery box. Right fucking on to
you, mickey, and everyone else! That's some Good Shit there, cuzzin, & it
should really confuse a lot of Orthodox Deadhead types, which I think is
generally a useful thing. 'Only the Strange Remain' was my Favorite
Unperformed Hunter Lyric ever since I first got Box of Rain; now I need a
new one. Hmm...A Glass of Wine at the End of Time? No, probably the last
23 parts of Terrapin or however many it is now. Do you ever entertain the
notion of trying to put together a performance of the whole saga? Hah!
How 'bout at the opening of Phil's Tripatorium thingy? Should give you
plenty of time to get it together, I know you need more projects to keep
you busy these days.


"For the free harmony
comes from all our melodies
entwined, mysteriously enabled..."
-S. Doty

Oh, that's what you meant by frames. Sure, I know. Don't like 'em. I put a DeadNet homepage button on my front page at your behest, though. As for further interconnection, well . . . this is kinda my, um, you know, personal thing. My own sense of taste excludes frames, guestbooks, commercial internet logos, spiraling Java letters, (I do have a weakness for animated gifs, though) pages of links, ineffective scatology and advertising. That doesn't mean I don't enthuse about things that may have a price tag on them, but the price tag isn't the point.
[That's how I define my own pages - I don't mean to define anyone else's. Everything has its place. The temptation of Java is to produce overslick pages. There's much I like about Java - its potential for getting truly warped is extraordinary!]

At this stage, the complete Terrapin would be a multi-media event lasting six days. As for keeping busy, I was away from my computer for 24 hours yesterday, for the first time since February. Slow email over Memorial Day allows for a lazy luxury. That doesn't mean I want people to stop sending it! Only on Sundays and Holidays.


From: Steve Wright <>
Subject: FW: Strength V. Dependence
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 13:58:33 -0400


Greetings once again, hope your weekend was pleasant. Read your entries from last week, (oh about 4 and a half minutes after I sat back in my chair), sorry it took so long, I needed coffee.

Interesting comments re: 'Apparently somewhere along the line something didn't get communicated too well.' My thoughts exactly, but I guess you really can take what you need, and leave the rest...(that's as long as what you leave isn't lying, almost breathless, by the side of the road.)

I wrote you last week, urging those of us who WILL be electing to 'hang in there' to continue to THRIVE in the post-Jerry environs. Passive thriving is fine. Active thriving is better.

We're holding a benefit (just 18 miles north of Boston) over the weekend of August 9, 10, 11, to raise cashola for the Rex. $20 a head (literally), all the music ,spirit and fun you can possibly jam into 72 hours. Local papers are already on it; so are two college radio stations. We're hoping to raise cash; what we will raise is AWARENESS.

Although I hear your voice come through your feedback '...a few people suspect money is at the root of this operation.', one might suggest that communing for the financial (and spiritual) betterment of the TRIBE is, in a word, righteous

We've all agreed that it will be called the Forward Festival. Feels right.

I hope you're happy; I'm completely addicted to this damn home-page.

Great edits from your Dad. I'm an editor with McGraw (Trade), best wishes to him.

Best, sw

p.s. We're making dyes and sending them to GDP, what size?


go to it and thrive! Thanks for doing for us what we're having a bit of trouble doing for ourselves. Make it dance!


Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 00:26:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jace <>
Subject: Please Update Text-Only Version of Web Page

Hi Bob,

We need to have a GD version of "ditto" so that we can all thank you for
the poetry, the beauty, the pagentry, and the horseshit. All of it has
made our lives richer, and I thank you sir. Hmm, maybe we should all say
"Dilbert" at the top of our messages.

The one major weakness in the web page is that the text only version has
not been updated for months. I teach at a university where there are
hundreds of deadheads, but most of them access web pages through a
terminal that will not allow them to view graphics. We use lynx as a
web browser on my campus, but there are other text-based web browsers as
well. Most people *still* have to use those sorts of browsers rather than
Netscape or something fancier.

Somehow, in all of your free time, you folks need to maintain the
text-only version of the web page. I just peeked a few moments ago, and
there is nothing about Furthur, noting about Dick's Picks 4, "What's New"
is from November 95, and so on.

Ah well, bitch bitch bitch. Still, this web page will soon contribute in
a major way to the viability and survival of GDP. The text-based version
may be small beer, but it, too, can contribute.

Thanks again,


---------------------Jace Crouch, Medievalist---------------------
-------------Humanities & Social Sciences Department--------------
--------------GMI Engineering & Management Institute--------------
serving in such capacities as the administration of GMI may direct


by a strange co-incidence, I was just alerted to the "text only" problem and had just checked it out for myself. Before leaving quitting, I checked Eudora and saw your message. Got to figure out who to get to work on it.
Thanks for the good words about my page. I especially valued the appellation "horseshit" because I do try to put enough in to keep it honest.


Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 06:45:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: jols@zipnet (Dancing Madly Backwards)
Subject: Re: long way round

Greetings rh,

>Tried to send you a message from your homepage but

WoW. You actually visited my page. Thank you. And, thanks for taking the
time to find me after your first failed attempt. I appreciate it.

>Wanted to say thank you for your comments. Oh, and I stole a gif
>from your page. Thanks for the excellent link!

I have many more comments, but take pity on you having to read and reply to
so many mail message. But, what is a community if it's not interactive.
Especially in this medium. I've been with Digital Equipment Corp for 25
years and have a strong sense of the electronic community that can develop.
We have such a community and we're called DECheads. We continue in spite of
and because of Jerry's passing. We've been 'meeting' through a network
medium with Digital, called Notesfiles, for many years, discussing the band
and certainly your lyrics. The thought of being able to extend that
community worldwide is exciting to me.

Regarding the gif: ...let's see.. the only gifs I have I stole from the
Huichol Yarn Art page. Any stolen image of mine is a stolen image of yours

btw, in the Grateful Dead Notesfile at work we have anote discussing your
archive and journal. I'd like to ask permission to post selected excerpts
from your journal. There are people still without browser capabilites (hard
to imagine) and there are things in your journal which I feel are important
for people to read. Let me know if you have any objections.

Jay Jollimore


no objections to printing excerpts. It was a skull with a tophat I stole.
I too feel excitement at the prospects of electronic community. I figure it's an important step toward space station living and interstellar travel. Deadheads? On Alpha Centauri? Who else??! (been there - done that)


Subj: Dead mainstreamed
Date: May 20 1996 5:31 PM EDT
From: (Oldenburg, Don)

Hey Robert Hunter--

Hope e-mailing you directly is no imposition, but you've been spending a
lot of time on the 'net these days, so it seemed like the best way to reach

My name's Don Oldenburg and I live this Jeckyl-and-Hyde life as a feature
writer at The Washington Post and a longtime deadhead [actually that's an
unfair exaggeration, because I find most of both of those realities as
positive as I choose to make them at any time, though I can't say this place
is exactly crawling with other deadheads :- ) ].

Fact is, my first show turned out to be one that subsequent years and
generations of deadheads looked kindly on--namely the late show on 02/13/70
at the Fillmore East. My college buddies and I took the train down to NYC
from New Haven and caught that all-nighter that essentially disentangled my
neuro-transmitters, rearranged them nicely, thankyou, and sent me back out
on the street the next morning with that sweet "Lay down my dear brother. .
. " still echoing inside my head and the morning sunshine trying to crack
the dense morning air in the city.

From that night on, I pretty much knew the Grateful Dead was the music I'd
count on and that counted for something. Probably played Dark Star everyday
for three years thereafter and remember finding it improbably to imagine not
doing so. Since then I saw plenty of shows when I could, though I never
traveled behind the band like some folks 'cause I was too busy trying to get
hold of my own life.

Anyway, like for most of us, the day Jerry died changed a lot for me.
Besides losing him and what might have come next of his music, that same
afternoon my third son Coley was born unexpectedly, five days early! (A
bitter-sweet day, for sure. And it gave checking your newborn for all his
fingers new meaning). Now it gives me some solace to think Jerry and Coley
must've passed each other like two trains in the night.

Before I get to the point of all this, I also want to tell you how much I
respect your talent, and I'm not only talking about the incredible lyrics
you've created over all these years. I saw you a couple times play live,
back in the early 80s, and I think you're excellent on stage and wish I had
the opportunity to see you play again (please). First time I heard your
album with Rubin and Cherise on it, I couldn't believe someone could do that
song better than the Dead did, but by God you did. Your song. Stands to

But enough idle (though sincere) adulation.
I've got a story to write, which is why I'm contacting you.

In the days since Jerry died and the band disbanded, I've noticed, bit by
bit, occurrence by occurrence, product by product, things and images
Grateful Dead emerging into mainstream American culture unlike they ever did
before. I spend some time on the Dead list on the 'net and those
"Dead-sightings" and "Jerry-sightings" occasionally reported there have been
confirming and adding evidence to what I've seen.

I bumped into it head-first soon after Jerry died when Best Buys, the huge
discount appliance chain, put Grateful Dead centers in their stores. Cripes,
this is like Sears holding a Summer of Love Revisited Sale! A deadhead
center selling keychains, hats, T-shirts, clutch-purses, tons of stuff with
little skeletons and dancing bears on it-- that pretty much defies gravity,
I figure. Then I hear that the consumer icon of middle American values,
Sam's Club (the Wal-Mart spin-off), in Hagerstown, Md., was playing Dead
tunes on its speaker system, presumably between announcing hot-flash sales
over in the ladies department.

The phenomenon doesn't stop in unlikely retail isles:

--- Devil Sticks that have long been associated with Dead concerts last year
hit it bigtime in toy stores nationwide, breaking the top 10 list of
best-selling toys.

---Look in your nearby neighborhood Greeting Card shop and you're likely to
find a birthday card depicting Jerry in heaven, with a tie-dyed halo and
wings, saying "you're having another birthday!" And inside: "Be Grateful!"

---Dead sightings on network TV (of all places) have been abundant this past
season: "ER," the emergency room drama, did a Jerry/Santa thing for its
Christmas show; "Roseanne" did her much hyped birth episode with Dead
tunes playin' and images of Jerry appearing on the heart monitor as she gave
birth; Don Johnson's new TV series "Nash Bridges" (now there's some name
for you) did several episodes involving a subplot with Jerry stuff; "Third
Rock from The Sun" had one character identifying a Santa doll as Jerry

---Lately, numerous tribute albums have appeared--and not all of them are
coming from musicians sorta connected with the band. There's a small label
country CD called "Long Live The Dead" covering all Dead tunes; and a pretty
nice reggae tribute CD to the Dead was just released. Either or both might
attract a wider audience than deadheads.

----Recently, a deadhead from Boston wrote to the Dead list the observation
that 9 out of 10 people he runs into on campus or at bars wearing Dead
T-shirts turn out to be "pretty clueless" when he strikes up a conversation
with them.

----Why does a New York Times music critic who in years past would sometimes
not bother to review a commercial release of The Grateful Dead, suddenly
review a Dick's Picks release that's sold primarily through Grateful Dead
Merchandising (GDM) and not through stores?

So why when the making of Grateful Dead music comes to a sudden and sad
halt, do Americans who wouldn't know "Dark Star" from "Samba in the Rain"
suddenly discover this cultural enigma called The Grateful Dead?

Some deadheads I've talked to are turned off by this kind of pop-culture
emergence now in the aftermath--especially since much of it isn't the music,
which for most deadheads has always been the focus. Of course, you can't
stereotype Deadheads and expect to be right; some I've talked to delighted
that by bits and pieces the mainstream public is finding "The Grateful Dead"
in its midst.

I have mixed feelings about it, which in part is why I'm writing about it.
Tends to be what I do, one way or the other. I suppose the merchandising of Deadhead things by GDM certainly deserves some of the blame/praise for this mainstreaming. But, in fact, for years now, those things GDM has sold via its almanac and a headshop here or there have been sold overwhelming to deadheads.

Social observer Douglas Coupland (who coined the term Generation-X, and has
a new book coming out this month in which about a third is his thoughts and
observations about the "deadhead culture") told me he thought that little
kids today who wouldn't know an Elvis tune if they hear one know who Elvis
was, sorta. He thinks something similar along the lines of culture
legend-making may be happening with Jerry and in a larger sense with the
rest of you in the Grateful Dead. I just don't know.

I'd certainly appreciate hearing (reading as the case may be) your thoughts
on this. Why's it happening? Have you seen some of this yourself? What's
your reaction to it? And, in bringing any comments you might have into the story, I'd like to mention your incredible website journal, so if you could say a thing or two about that, I thank you as well.

Hope I haven't lost you with the length of message, but I wanted to clarify
just what I'm doing in this story--for both our sakes. I'm trying to wrap
this piece up by Thursday or Friday (23rd, 24th), so if you'd be kind enough
to grace me with your thoughts on this, I sure could use them before that.
E-mail is fine with me; so is the telephone; in-person would be great, of
course, but nobody here's sending me out your way.

Thanks for any help you can lend.

Peace. Take care --

Don Oldenburg
The Washington Post


not aware of the nerdchandising phenomenon, but then I don't get out of the house much these days, tied as I am to the web page, which is some kind of blend between sheer egotism and public service. I'll leave you to do the estimating in your article.

Don't know who is doing the merchandising on the scale you speak of. I assure you no one reports to me. I doubt you find any lyric content attached to it because I'm pretty particular about where I'll let my words be lodged. No greeting cards, place maps, bibs, trivia games, tarot cards, etc.

As far as recordings go, anyone may apply for a mechanical license to record a song and we have no right to refuse, unless they want to use logo or somehow incorporate the registered Grateful Dead "thing" into it. I have no complaint with anything I've heard and am not displeased to see the songs exist outside our own interpretations of them. The reggae album gives genuine pleasure. Amazing to hear Wharf Rat in that style, and it works convincingly.

Whomever may be marketing the old boy's image in a promiscuous fashion, the obvious distastefulness of the activity won't detract from Jerry's accomplishments. I assume they have a legal right to do so and concern myself only with matters I do have some say over. Not much, you may be certain.

I try to create a forum, with my web page, where those who feel a need for some kind of "source" communication can gather and voice their concerns with the assurance that someone is listening and will respond. I answer all my mail, even if only a line or two in response. No boiler plate. Today I've been selecting letters that call for longer replies, feeling in the mood to expand. The letters and replies will all be printed in the next mailbag. I find that I formulate my own ideas best in the correspondence mode. Don't know how long I can hold to this pace, but for now the reaction is such that I continue to be well motivated. I won't say "you should see some of those letters" because you can see them. They're all archived on the web site. I don't know how I'll manage if and when the world at large gets wind of DeadNet and wants to join in the exchange. I've told my readers "for now the Archive is playing the clubs" and I'll decide how (and if) to respond to larger volume when the time comes.

Thanks for the kind words about my performing career. I think that phase of my life may be over. Be 55 next month and feel that my remaining energies are best spent writing. I could probably make a killing going out and doing my songs in the vacuum left by the Dead, but making that killing would possibly kill me as well - not the performing so much as the short sleep and airline connections. And, not incidentally, I have a seven year old daughter who is not going to have an absentee father if I can help it. Been there. Done that.

I think I remember the Fillmore East show of which you speak. 2/13/70. Opening the stage door, after all night music, to unexpected bright morning light with an inch of new snow on the ground. Exhilirating and unforgettable. The perfect instant.

Or was that another night of the run? Wrote Stella Blue at the Chelsea Hotel during that stay.

Why, you ask, are people discovering the Grateful Dead now? To be blunt, nothing succeeds like death in the entertainment business. So what else is new?

Sorry I can't tell you more in the way of reactions to the "mainstreaming of the Dead" but I don't watch tv or read newspapers (other than to glance at headlines) and there isn't much of that sort of thing in sight locally. I'm not playing innocent, I've heard a thing or two to curl the lip, but there are enough things to really worry about around here without getting concerned with who might be making a few kopecks from Garcia's beard clippings. I'm more concerned with AOL's sudden decision to drop their promised adoption of Netscape in favor of MicroSoft's browser. I fear this portends a monopoly presence on the internet, and increasing pressure to clean up the net for middle American sensibilities. Government pressure can be brought to bear, and will be, directly on AOL - and they must submit, there's too much at stake. Billions of dollars in advertising fees. Sanctions. And, as John Barlow has pointed out, the internet is too big, too international, to control, even in the interests of the American right wing. Enforcement must needs be ruthless to frighten those who cannot be directly controlled into feeling they're being watched. But I rave.

I did see something today that gave me pause. A bumper sticker on the car in front of me. A p[icture of Jerry's hand with the missing finger. I felt disturbed by the unconsciously provided intimacy of seeing the hand I've shaken hundreds of times displayed in this fashion. But then I did a little mental shift and realized it was just a tribute from the nice looking young folks in the car, and then the light changed.


Subj: Fire On The Mountain
Date: May 19 1996 11:24 PM EDT
From: (Richard & Cheryl DeBois)

Dear Robert,
The story begins a long time ago. We are very good friends with Cyril
Neville and we have been encouraging him and The Neville Brothers to do a
Dead song. Finally, last Spring Cyril asked us to come up with a few Dead
songs that he can choose from. We had several ideas and gave him some live
versions to listen to. When Jerry died last year it was the same day that
the Neville Brothers were to play at Wolftrap in Virginia. They were
traveling on the bus all day and had not heard the bad news until we told
them. Needless to say the show that night was very emotional for all. That
night Cyril was now ready to do that song. He chose Fire on the Mountain
and asked us if we could come up with the words. At the time we went online
and got lyrics/Grateful Dead somewhere and downloaded them. We then hand
wrote these words and sent them to Cyril who was still on tour.

When I went online tonight and read your page (which I am a huge fan of
and read religiously) and I saw your comments on the word that was changed
on the new album I ran to my file to check what I had sent him. Sure
enough, the lyrics were wrong! I did not have your book "Box Of Rain" then
(I do now) or I would have given him all the correct words. I feel really
terrible about this. Will you ever forgive me? I gave him these lyrics
because he had nobody else to turn to. We were the only "Deadheads" that he

The live versions that I heard last month in New Orleans were certainly
kick-ass. Lets hope there will be many other performers trying to reach out
and present your songs as well. Keep up the good work with your web site
and once again forgive me for misrepresenting your lyrics. From now on I
will consult you for all correct lyrics.

Richard DeBois


No harm done, especially seeing that you got him to do the song! As I hope I made clear, it was a change only an author would notice. I wouldn't go so far as to say it bugged me. So rest easy. And don't consult me! Buy the damned book or take it off my lyrics on the net.


5/29 ps: met Cyril at Laguna Seca and we had a good rap. Fine man, fine musician.

Subj: The whole enchilada
Date: May 21 1996 2:24 AM EDT
From: (Kyle Holbrook)


All the responses to "the dilemna" in the mailbag took me two hours to
read last night. I've been touched by the Dead experience in so many
ways I couldn't even list an outline. Two thoughts I have been sharing
with my immediate friends and family.

I feel so lucky , and indeed enriched that the music I thoroughly loved
and investigated from all angles( I was a taper for many years(82-89))
had brought together so many people that I have come to respect and love.
I have felt spirituality, community, love, joy, musicality, even kinetic
tension from the stage, so many ways and through so many mediums on so
many different nights. I know , that no matter what could happen to all
of you who created, initiated, the Dead Monster, that all the people and
spirits that formed all the aforementioned atmospheres will carry on,
and the love will never be lost.

(2) As someone mentioned in the mailbag, this stage is just the state of
metamorphose that you all are in, NOW, it will be as it will be, so to
speak. As you have written, there was never a master plan to begin with,
it just happened. So the next step(s) will happen too. That's not to
say that you shouldn't become the master of the communication between the
organization and the community. I think it's great. As I said, the
energy from all us heads out here, honing in on you guys over there, and
writing their true to heart opinions is uplifting.

I thank the great spirits often for my lifetime of learning and
adventures relating to the Dead. Iused the energy to focus on my studies
in college, and on bettering myself since.

Too much hot air here. better go and give someone else some space. I'm
new to the net, but I'm using the well as my server as I travel often,
and wanted to take advantage of their 269 local access numbers.

kyle holbrook


wow, you send some late night mail! I'm just closing down and ready to crawl off to bed after a long day of webbing it. Thanks for the good thoughts. Yes, the community is the beginning, middle, and end of it. And yes, evolution doesn't give a damn about what direction we want to take things at this point. There are points you can influence, and points you can't.

For example, I can't keep my eyes open much longer.


Subj: Hey Now!
Date: May 21 1996 1:49 AM EDT
From: (Doug Freud)


It is a honor and a privilege to read your thoughts through the Deadnet web
site. I have been a "family" member since 1989 when I saw my first show at
the Uptown theater in Chicago. Although only in High School, I knew right
away that the Grateful Dead was something special. Over the years the band
and the music guided my own long strange trip. It is for this reason that I
am disturbed by the possibility of this coming to an end.

We all know that Jerry is not available, but somehow the trip should not end
at this point. There is too much talent and too much heart within the
community. Please do not let the organization die. Although I did not know
him personally, I think Jerry would have wanted this community to continue.


ps. I want to thank you personally for the music. Many Deadheads do not
realize that you are the voice of the Dead. Jerry was a huge talent, but
your contributions to the community can never be measured.

pps. I remember reading in an old interview that you and Jerry did indeed
read Sigmund Freud. Is this true? If so what did you read and how did it
influence you? (With a name like Freud they only let you major in
Psychology) After all, I am from the family that brought you neurosis.


just realized, as I'm stuffing the mailbag, that I never answered your letter, so I'll just take a moment and do it here.

Yes, I read Freud from time to time. I enjoy his massive mind - a true Victorian era completist and mad innovator. He created the western subconscious and tied myth to psychology in an amazing way. Is it true? Pah! Who cares! His work is insightful, titilating, and altogether brilliant. He made us think in brand new ways and, if nothing else, uncovered the simmering sexual hypocrisy rampant in the civilization of his time.

Did Jerry read him? Dunno. He knew damned near everything by osmosis.


Date: May 22 1996 3:08 PM EDT
From: jeff.stampes@Xilinx.COM (Jeff Stampes)

I finally took the time to visit your website and digest some
of what has gathered there. I read the mailbags, your journal
entries, and tried to digest what I'm seeing. There are some
trends that are rather disturbing to me, so I'll waste a few
minutes of your time with them.

1) I note in the e-mails an absence of gratitude. You gave
so much of yourself to the entity we grew to know as the
Grateful Dead, and now that they have passed into our
memories, and seek new identity, you are still giving.
Thank you!! (and Thank you for the Nov '91 show you did
at the Ritz in NYC with T.C....still a highlight for me!)

2) Everyone seems to be looking for ways to keep the Dead going.
Have we forgotten everything we've learned over the years?
I wanted to say "what Jerry taught us", but the truth is that
we taught ourselves. Phil may believe that we aren't the
Grateful Dead anymore, but I'll take issue with him. More than
ever, we are the Dead. The musicians aren't anymore, so it's
us now. We have the music, and there's more showing up all the
time (Dick's Picks, Vault tapes, etc). What would happen if we
all stopped looking? We have the music, we have the love, we
have the friendship and community....we can gather at other
concerts, Family gatherings, or over candlelight and a bottle
of wine on a stormy night. What is everyone looking for?
I'm scared everyone is losing what we have to look for
something else.

Thank you again for everything...we wouldn't have gotten here
without you, and the information you provide us with helps us
see the future unfolding.

In Peace,

Jeff Stampes


first let me thank you for your welcome appreciation of my efforts. I've come to realize, in the face of possibly losing it, that I value the community in the same manner I value my life because it IS my life. I didn't know that before. I'm learning. If I abandoned it, my muse would abandon me. Jerry and I talked that over, way back when, and both agreed it was so. Pretty heavy statement - but what is life worth without commitment? And what makes more sense than to continue to commit to what you've spent most of your life trying to help build? It's a ship worth sailing or sinking with.

Second: are you reading the same mailbags I am? They appear, to me, to be busting at the seams with gratitude - almost embarrassingly so! I feel a bit of a monomaniac posting so much self- agrandizing stuff, but that's what I get and there it is. In and amongst the warm regards is a lot of pertinent stuff, a lot of reality checking, a lot of information. I've got no problem with those who applaud my efforts but caution that evolution must take it toll, despite my wishes. If it all falls down and goes under, at least I won't be left to wonder what else I could have done. I might wish I'd tried other methods, but who's to know that before the fact?

By the way, Phil said that you people ARE the Grateful Dead now. You got that just backwards. And I don't think people are so unable to see what's what as to demand that the remains of the band reform as the Grateful Dead. I don't get that hit at all. There is a certain expression of sorrow, but that's only natural. Much more prominent is the sense that we can keep it together as a community so long as the dialogue can be kept going. I like your image of "family gatherings over candlelight and a bottle of wine on a stormy night." Reminds me of Dylan's line "Come in, she said, I'll give you shelter from the storm."

So, Jeff, welcome to the dialogue. Pull up a fire and a glass of wine and let's rap.


Subj: Journal & GDC
May 22 1996 9:21 AM EDT
From: (Jeremy Poynton)


Hi. Redeye on your back again ;-> God to see the latest journal - guess
keeping a journal makes you a journalist now ? Great to see the draft of
'Ripple' ; I kept playing around with your corrections .. came up with
"If my tongue did glow ... " - now why didn't that make the final version ?

Re Phil's comment that 'we' (whoever 'we' are) are now the Grateful Dead;
I think many would agree - in fact, it's a sentiment that seems to have
come to the fore since Jerry's death. How to proceed ? In the UK I for
sure don't know - the deadhead community as such is small, and in UK terms
far flung. Also, I am not sure that we are not at a different cultural stage
to the States - here it feels like the end stage of the decline and fall
of the British Empire. All is in a state of decay, and the current government
has betrayed our fragile democracy, which, with no written constitution
or Bill of Rights, has always relied on a tacit acceptance of democracy by
the executive. All the individual can do is to foster what is good around

Over the pond, however, I think it is different; you are not yet in the
state we are in - maybe on the edge of the fall, but a little way off it yet;
certainly more extreme, in the manifestations of craziness, both institutional
and personal (but then we Brits have never been extreme anyway - wouldn't do
chaps, would it?), but perhaps this is where your chance lies - for all
the white supremacists, survivalists, Montana-based crazies, there seems to
be an active counter-balance, embodied in one of it's most visible forms
in the Dead, then, now and in the future. I do however think your idea of
a "Grateful Dead Central" a great one ... whatever happens from here on in,
a focus of some sort is needed - this could provide it.

I'm reminded of the old 'Dulce et decorum est ..." quote, "Ask not what
your country can do for you, but what you can do for it" - maybe we can
turn it on it's head and say "Ask not what the Dead can do for you, but
what you can do for the Dead" ?

The journal's great - am printing it off for the netless deadheads of Bristol.
"Off the wall" was one comment I got on it. Haven't got a clue what was meant.

Over & out

(Jeremy Poynton


hold in there, I'll be over to sort you lot out in a month. There's three major economic problems with merrie olde, that, if corrected, would herald a new age - the rest of economic reform would follow without fail. I speak of the prohibitive price of petrol, ale and ciggies. What can you say about the morale of a country where you can't drive, smoke or drink without facing financial ruin?


Date: May 23 1996 4:46 PM EDT
From: (John Marsh)

Greetings, Robert!

Paid my first visit to your website today and can only echo the
sentiments of so many others - *thank you* for this superb resource, and
the opportunity to communicate with you. I'll do my best to sidestep the
temptation of raving like a sycophant :) , and simply say that I will
always be in debt to you and the rest of the GD for the joy and wonder
you've brought me through the years. Thanks again.

One thing I wanted to share with you: last weekend in Atlanta there was an
excellent illustration of the meme I've seen floating around the 'net
lately, (I've heard it credited to both you and Phil, not sure of the true
source) that says, in essence, that we (the deadheads) *are* the Grateful
Dead now. There was a gathering called the "Jerry Jam" at which dozens of
Atlanta's musicians paid musical tribute to JG & Co. It was a truly
inspiring event, marked by performances of many of your & JG's
compositions as well as original music by the bands involved, one of which
I was honored to play with. The hall was sold out (1150+ tickets) and we
raised over $5000 for a local group whose focus is cleaning up the
Chatahoochee River, one of the most polluted rivers in the U.S. (and the
prime source of water for the city of Atlanta). The organizers are
planning on turning it into an annual event. I know that environmental
concerns were a large part of the GD's charitable activities, and I
thought you'd appreciate hearing about this.

So, though the GD as we knew and loved it is no more, the spirit lives on
in those whose lives were enriched by it, and wonderful things are still
happening because of its enduring legacy.

All good things-
John Marsh
Atlanta, GA


regardless of who said it first, it's the truth and bears repeating. Sounds like a fine event. Keep it up.


May 23 1996 1:18 PM EDT
From: jeff.stampes@Xilinx.COM (Jeff Stampes)


I certainly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my letter...
the insight you can provide from another angle is refreshing to me, and
reinforces a lot of the ideas I have had for a long time.

During the last years of the band as we knew it, as a touring,
viable entity, I started to have some rumblings in my subconcious. As
I got more and more involved in the Net and world of,
those rumblings became virtual tremors, and started to shake the
foundation I thought I had so carefully built upon.

My thoughts were along the vein of, "God help us all if it's Jerry
and the band that keeps us together." What would become of a community
with bonds that weak? And there were times (times we may wish we never
saw) that watching the goings-on surrounding a show gave me fears that
maybe the bonds were that weak. It was that gave me back some
of my faith. As I watched the dialogue and debates get tainted with
senseless bickering and irritating noise, it struck me that it was
exactly the same as the 'scene'. We were and are a true community. We
started with the common bond of the music, which brought us there
the first time. After that, we struck off and discovered our ties
with each other, independent of the band or the music. We have our
heros, and we have our louts...they're both part of the package deal.
You can't have the good without the bad, and I don't think I would want
to. Growing as a community after you've lost a leader can be one
of the most satisfying challanges for people, if they accept the job
in front of them, and move to it.

I guess this all feeds the discomfort I get from people who aren't
letting the world change. They think they need a concert, or a
festival, or some other external event to get together with their
community. These people will run off to LSD, or the Furthur Fest,
and want something they may not find. Their inability to find it
won't be because it's not there for them, it would be because they're
looking for the wrong thing. Their loss. However, the effects that
feeling of loss they experience can have on everyone else may impact
our ability to grow together.

I realize I'm rambling, so I'll go pour more wine, and let the
whirling thoughts settle down a little.

In Peace,

Jeff Stampes

Again, brother, AMEN! rh

Subj: FWD: cussing report...
Date: May 23 1996 8:54 AM EDT
From: (Michrel L. Standefer)

Just thought you may find this interesting...

>Since several governments seem ready to invest quite a bit of money in
censorship, I thought it might be worthwhile to investigate what their
return has been in hard numbers. I made use of the research service at in order to examine the total usage of six words
on Usenet for each of the past 12 months. The result, as I shall present
in detail below, is that beginning with the month preceding passage of
the CDA, usage of vulgarity, formerly stable, quite literally doubled.

>Measurements were from the first day to the last day of each month
using the query filter, followed by counts of the matches with the words
"fuck", "sleep", "shit", "eat", "piss", and "drink". The control terms
"sleep", "eat", and "drink" were included to avoid the criticism that
non-technical conversation might simply be increasing; they do, in fact,
increase approximately 20%. Only bodily functions were used to ensure
that religious messages, for instance, would not be mis-scored.

Date Total Fuck Sleep Shit Eat Piss Drink
5/95 118173 272 565 584 962 114 444
6/95 143943 302 743 759 1152 143 613
7/95 105689 269 549 585 808 124 495
8/95 154476 342 770 813 1213 175 643
9/95 120941 191 889 674 872 139 483
10/95 105861 348 489 676 748 116 397
11/95 179479 441 652 841 1025 170 504
12/95 176266 524 725 801 1058 171 598
1/96 260417 1524 1612 2226 2281 380 1343
2/96 268698 1742 1492 2350 2407 425 1235
*3/96 213431 1401 1184 1800 1922 370 1106
4/96 356164 2311 2073 3061 3282 661 1743

*3/96 is a sum of "old" and "current" database entries;
data from 4/96 is exclusively in the "current" database.

The numbers given here are in terms of posts per thousand
indexed with the word indicated:

Date Fuck Shit Piss Sleep Eat Drink
5/95 2.3 4.9 1.0 4.8 8.1 3.8
6/95 2.1 5.3 1.0 5.2 8.0 4.3
7/95 2.5 5.5 1.2 5.2 7.6 4.7
8/95 2.2 5.3 1.1 5.0 7.9 4.2
9/95 1.6 5.6 1.1 7.4 7.2 4.0
10/95 3.3 6.4 1.1 4.6 7.0 3.8
11/95 2.5 4.7 0.9 3.6 5.7 2.8
12/95 3.0 4.5 1.0 4.1 6.0 3.4
1/96 5.9 8.6 1.5 6.2 8.8 5.2
2/96 6.5 8.7 1.6 5.6 9.0 4.6
3/96 6.6 8.4 1.7 5.5 9.0 5.1
4/96 6.5 8.6 1.9 5.8 9.2 4.8

Relative to the 5/95 to 12/95 baseline frequency, usage of
the terms "fuck", "shit" and "piss" (averaged by item) was 76%
higher in January, 88% higher in February, 92% higher in March,
and 97% higher in April. The upward trend of these numbers
suggests that the frequency of vulgarity has not yet peaked.

The CDA was passed, after much acrimonious debate,
on February 1, 1996. Similar laws have been under
consideration elsewhere, so it is difficult to say whether
non-U.S. posters would be expected to flatten the increase.
I have not yet devised a way to reliably measure only U.S.
posters for this period.

tiffany lee brown * assistant editor, fringe ware review
style editrix, chicane * editor, TAZmusique
snailmail c/o Bohobo Press * 3439 NE Sandy Blvd. #272
Portland, Oregon * 97232 * USA * voice 503/321-5061

'I demand tea, cake, and the finest wines available to humanity!'
- Withnail

Subj: Answer to the question unasked.
Date: May 23 1996 9:47 PM EDT
From: (Art Granoff)

Thanks 4 the love
Thanks 4 the diversity
Thanks 4 showin us what we can be.

Forever + Now, thanks for new Zero tunes.
XX Art


well, since you put it that way all I can say is 'welcome to it!'


Subj: Giants Harp
Date: May 23 1996 10:53 PM EDT
From: (Nancy/Rustin Oko)


I am half way thru ch. 8 of the Giants Harp. It is the best one yet, the characters are coming to life, the town is becoming three dimentional. i can walk through its streets. thank you.

Thanks, Nancy.

Some complain that they can't keep all the characters straight so I'm going to post a name & attribute list very soon. Suppose it might be difficult telling Ro from Lo or Ist from Isa for those who only get to check in every ten days or so. My dad (who edited the first draft 10 years ago) suggested I change most of the names for that reason, but how could I do that? Those are their names!


Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 12:35:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Barbara Saunders <>


First, what you're doing with this page blows my mind!

Second, big thanks for, well, "everything."

I want to respond specifically to your journal posting of 5/10. I loved
what you had to say about the Grateful Dead as a symbol, identity, and
idea. The events of 1986 made me conscious of the reality that "the scene",
as I knew it, would end one day. But, I've realized that I was and still
am totally unprepared for a world without the Grateful Dead as "idea",
"energy", "morphic field".

I hope you're successful in keeping the name alive with the inner circle.
To me, "Grateful Dead" is larger than music/musical events. I can't
define it, but I know it when I see it, as they say. The words, music,
and people changed my life forever; I want to keep playing with "You all"
at the lead! The "power accrued to the name", as you put it, is "good
spirit power," I think.


Hi Barbara,
long time no see. Manage to get your web page up yet? I'm going to Laguna Seca Sunday to see how the wind blows, catch Mickey's premiere. Fingers crossed. It should tell a lot about how realistic my hopes are. Nice to hear from you.


Subj: When your head gets twisted & your mind goes numb
Date: May 24 1996 7:23 PM EDT
From: (William Richard DeHaven)

I've been reading your webpage faithfully and i'm not what you would
call an avid reader. So thanks for helping me rediscover the joys of
the written word. I really think this net thing will keep us together
as long as we have access to people like yourself. We might just have
one more ring in that bell, so please keep up the work but don't kill
yourself as mom would say.
Thanks for so many good roads.


you think so? That's the plan, but you never know. A little of this, a little of that. Crazy??? Been there, done that.


Date: May 23 1996 4:51 PM EDT
(Susan Mudgett aka little gator

Since I gave you the Gatorful Dead collection (I wonder how much if any
of it you remember. Does cartoon gators mangling Dead lyrics with
horribly bad spelling remind you of anything?) there has only been one
more, the one recording your Somerville concert. I apologise that
Boston of all places is full of ignoramuses who didn't get your MTA
joke but it's called "The T" now anyway. But what an amazing evening
that was, even if I hadn't been able to meet you after it, and
especially since I did.

The Gatorful Dead collection stopped at 7. I think you got the 5 Dead
Shows and the JGB show, and the last was the one for your concert. I
can snail it to you if you never got it.


I've always believed that Julie in "Row Jimmy" was a dog. The first
verse reminds me of my own hounds, so when I took a stray Beagle out
of a pound to take to a local Beagle rescue I named her Julie even
though I was only with her for an hour. I never told them why but as
far as I know her new family still calls her that.

My own hounds are named after your songs too, their registered names
anyway. "My Pal" is my unoffical kennel name. Molly is a Bluetick and
there's a strong tradition in that breed to use the word "blue" in
their names, plus I have a close friend named STella, so she's Grand
Champion "PR" My Pal STella Blue. Sara is My Pal Lady With a Fan.
She's a Black and Tan Coonhound and had been abandoned at a vet with
her puppies. It was love at first sight for her and me as it was for
Molly and my husband, but she was so depressed I feared she'd be no
fun, plus she couldn't go till the pups were weaned, so I had lots of
time for second thoughts. Agonising over this, I popped in the tape
in the car stereo and heard that song. In this case the message was
clearly that tough choices happen and it was up to me to decide.
Turns out she's the silliest, most playful dog I've ever had, and yes,
sometimes she fairly leaps at me.

They post on rec.pets.dogs.misc in WOOFCHAT as Molly the Speckled and
SaranWrap Sara.

Hey! what happened to those cool little icons you displayed from other
pages? Did you stop? Is this my punishment for procrastinating on
sending you the web addresses where you can find art I've done? (mr gator, see "Susan's Art Gallery" to see
what my gators are up to lately, and I did the sun icons too. I just
wish he'd included the moon icons, I like them better.) (this is Fnordy's page. Fnordy
is a small blue plushie being who posts mostly on, and
has a cult following, including his worldwide fan club, The Maniacs
for Fnord. Fnordikins is a cheerful masochist who believes that
everyone is *crazy* about him. Fnord's writing offends the easily
offended, being to graphic for some and too silly for others. I did
the artwork for his page too.)

Then there's a friend of mine whose page includes the gator
illustration "The Deth of Tooring" which you may have seen.

And the dog page where my hounds' pictures are.

Please keep this personal, since if I don't ask for privacy I'll be so
busy censoring myself I won't say anything.

> Susan,
> I'm real mad at you. That is exactly the kind of utterly whacked out letter I
> love to put in the mailbag. But NO! What are most of the best ones marked
> personal? rh

I think you meant "why", not "what." And it's stage fright, though why
it's any more scaring than posting on newsgroups I can't figure out. But it

"Utterly whacked out"?!?!?! A friend of mine calls my stream of
consciousness emails lyrical. But then, this friend is endearingly
uncritical of anything I do.

Ok, put anything of mine in your mailbag, including that letter,
unless I mark something personal.

*gulp* *quiver*

is that arfarf@snot character for real or am I not supposed to ask? I
was once one of the authors of a mythical caller on a loacl bbs, who
developed a real name to go with his handle(which was The Skull
Bearer), and a cast of characters in his pathetic life.

> No, I didn't see the Somerville gators. Gimme. Send to office, Box
> 1073 San Rafael 94915.

I sent it there once but I'll try again. Maybe you should just send me
your personal home address, I promise I won't share it with more than
a few dozen of my closest pals.

You can stop laughing now.

>There's a video tape of that show which I've
> given permission to let circulate. rh

*shriek* How do I get one?

I did get the Somerville gators, now I remember -or am I remembering the original which I think you showed me at the gig? All confused, it was at the end of a tour, but it was an honor to meet you. I think your takes on Grateful Dead audiences, kind, loving, caustic and altogether exact, just so and not otherwise, were the cream of the cartoon crop.

M.Dire Wolf & the China Cat Sunflower series that ran in Relix were also excellent, but your stuff was from another dimension only gators, you and perhaps Emily Dickenson know about. Consider this a fan letter.

p.s. Don't know where you can get the Somerville video tape just yet. A couple of the songs from that night made the cut for my "Box of Rain" album. Got no complaints about that show; it'll do to represent me. I'll begin machinations to make it available through the newsgroup traders. In fact this letter may be all I need to do. It's OK, guys. Copy away. No sales, please.

Thanks for permission to add your letter. to the mailbag. Haven't seen Louise for a couple of days so haven't had a chance to ask her if she's real or not.

(Susan Mudgett aka little gator)

After I slept some more and woke up, I saw many more ways I could've woven the Jerry as Rubin/Reuben images togther, but this is what I posted at 5 am or so last August 10, when I woke up from this dream. I was still half asleep when I wrote it. That song has haunted me since I first woke up to it on my alarm radio many years ago. Your version of it at Somerville was chilling.

> August 10, 1995
> This is the dream that woke me a little while ago:

> There was a Dead concert somewhere. Jerry was playing.. Space I guess,
> though I couldn't hear it, I could only see as if I was a camera on
> the ceiling. He played for two days and nights without a break.
> Every few hours security tried to clear the arena, only to meet
> thousands of Deadhead gators shrieking in unison, "But the concert
> isn't *over* yet!" The rest of the band had wandered offstage or
> curled up behind the drums to sleep.
> Just before I woke, Jerry crashed facedown on the stage. Maybe he died
> then, I couldn't tell. But as I woke, though the rest of him wasn't
> moving, one hand was still working the strings, not of a guitar, but a
> painted mandolin, inlaid with a pretty face in jade.
> And his hair hung gently down.

Date: May 25 1996 7:11 PM EDT
From: (Anne Herbert)

beats and beauty and bountiful time:


So I saw this slide show about sea turtles. Started out with a grown mom sea
turtle sitting on the beach. Looked very awful, lurching to one side,
flippers dangling oddly, asymmetically at each side.

Few slide later she's swimming, or a sea turtle just like her. Shell just
the right shape for the water, flippers are flippers of power.

Almost all the women I know well enough to know how they feel about their
body feel they have something very wrong with their body. Odd dangly
awkwardness, wrong shape, wrong size.

We were born to swim in a sea of connectedness. Everything is connected and
we were born with different flippers to glide through and love different

Women like me, we were born in sneer land. Connections assumed non-existent
until proved. Ideas have to pass the test of having verbal acid throw on
them to be taken seriously.

Our flippers made for water, thick connections, look odd in air and flapping
where there's not enough to flap in.

Some people make places where it's easier to be the graceful turtles we
were born to be.

All this talk about women's beauty and so much of it means get small and
shallow, flat, thin.

When you are in the connections you were born in, you are beautiful for real
and the right shape and the world around you supports you because you love
and know it well.

Some people together make places where more of the connections we feel are
safe to feel, easy to see and to live. And we swim and we are beautiful.

Anne Herbert

Subj: 5.10.96 journal
Date: May 26 1996 10:39 PM EDT
From: (Jim LaFemina)


Wow. I stumbled onto your web page via Yahoo! It's great to hear a voice
behind the words I've been listening to for the last fifteen years. I,
too, am a writer albeit yet undiscovered, and was merely seeking an
address to drop you a short note to ask your permission that I may use a
short passage from Althea on the introduction page of my latest work
"The Color of Sox in Tennessee Sunlight". It is a fictional journal of a
young Union soldier struggling with the living with the dying of the
war. There is a hint of early baseball (Sox) history, and I wanted to
use, as an opening,

"There are things you can replace,
And others you cannot,
The time has come to weigh those things,
This space is getting hot..."

Then I found your journal, then the mailbags. I had to bookmark, or I
would never get to sleep. As for Plan 9, or was it A?, I'm doing fine.
I hope the Next Big Thing announces itself soon, but I must say that for
every single deadhead (myself included) temporarily lost in
(cyber)space, there are countless scores of men, women, and children
facing far more deadly ills. I carry with me the community of the
Grateful Dead. I know I am better for having been along for even part of
the ride (so far). Now I have a wife, a son, and a daughter who need me.
At some point, we're all Jerry. The retreads fit OK, and I have indeed
prayed for better weather.
Where do I send the $10 to? I need a new Harley. Oh, yes, and
tell Maureen the cover of Live85 was really, really great. Was green her
idea too? Please advise on the use of the lyrics. I think they fit the
story very well. Peace.


1. the next step is here. Read Journal 5/27.
2. address is on Kid's Street Theater page. Just click the button.
3. Green not her idea. Shock.
4. Permission to use lyric granted.
Thanks for digging the page. Yahoo? Didn't know I was listed.


Subj: What's left to do...
Date: May 27 1996 4:32 PM EDT
From: (Steven Solomon)


>I believe we're in a crisis -and that the only way out of the crisis is to
>make broad moves quick, properly >directed in terms of what we need to
>exist in the future. I am neither alone in believing this nor do I
>>represent a convinced majority. But I'm pretty sure I'm right or I
>wouldn't be shooting my mouth off.

Well put, per usual. We have, indeed, entered a very dynamic environment,
one that will require innovation, purposeful evolution, personal
responsibilty... or it will kill us as a nacient culture.

Where are we going? Where ever it is, if we are successful in improvising
our own evolution, we'll go together.

Let's go together, and aim for the heart. Heart will provide the worthy and
plenty broad target in our latest adventure... and, if we find broad
concensus to move together, dance together on this ride, we can continue to
share that good heart.

But, what are the practical steps to be undertaken? This is my particular
curiousity and bent of mind. I'm a guy who's very interested in how
"things", systems of humans, technology and culture, work. I am a deadhead
and a professional manager, an organizational generalist, a Leader for
Hire... to paraphrase the Tao, when the wise leader leads, the team barely
knows he exists. Yes, most everything I needed to know about "management",
I learned at a Dead concert. A few among these lessons: play nice with the
other kids (you will be graded on this later), explore risk (the best
things don't happen from a plan), and know that loss is inevitable, profit
is not (play for the long-term and keep your personal values straight).

OK... so if I'm so smart, what broad moves do I suggest? Thought I'd never ask.

1: Continue to refine the Info Tech (web pages, hotlines) and weave the
web. Relentlessly use and invest in this infrastructure and thus, the human
resource. The human resource is both the life-blood and bequethment of all
those years on the road, years by candle-light writing, strumming, humming,
imagining... investing in the telecom can keep this resource flowing and
perhaps allow it to flower in unexpected ways. It also has the side benefit
of providing a library and growing history of both the past and
current/future evolutions.

2: Not every deadhead has a computer; hmmmm. Well, there's still "real"
life. As the scene evolves into the new phase, and grows back down to its
roots in the streets and the clubs, a new layer of intelligence will
emerge. The trick will be to keep it "wired". Here, again, the Info Tech
will be helpful. So will the tape trading, newsletters, and word of mouth.
What, if anything, can/should the Home Office being doing to enable this
necessary evolution, is a question for further study. Research and planning
on this matter should be front-burnered.

3: Establish ongoing, reliable communications via commerce. How about a
Vault Release of the Month? Hell, CDs are cheap enuf to press that you
could sign up a hundred thousand heads for a Jam o' the Month, 20-30 minute
CD (and a year's end "Best Of" triple disc), and make it work as a
business. More importantly, each issue could come with an info-packed set
of notes: news, philosophical noodlings, story telling. Sounds like a
shit-load more work for you and Dick, tho.

4: Move ahead with the Terrapin Station projects; Dead approved/managed
sites (sometimes sarcastically refered to as Jerrywood) to host tribal
gatherings. Without the arenas to host the scene per se (not necessarily a
bad thing, I think), we've gotta have somewhere to periodically hang our
head-bands. Once again, these "resorts" could embody the themes of high
technology and human community... and tie back into suggestion #1...

Well, that's it- so far. Clearly there's lots more cogitating to be done by
a lot of folks... and then we return to the work... with joy... in
celebration... blessed to have these magical people in our time on the

Best wishes,
Steve Solomon

enjoyed your letter. Many good points. After going to Laguna Seca Sunday, I was surprised and gratified to see the community gathered in force. Less crazed than usual, and that's all for the good. As you know, I've put a lot of hope in Mickey Hart's musical dedication and my expectations were more than met, ragtag as the premiere of the band was technically. But that's just a matter of patching and electronics. Once the kinks are ironed out, I feel the sky's the limit for the Mystery Box configuration. It showed heart and rhythm. I'm now ready to relax a bit and trust that new, live music is the ultimate answer to what will keep the scene ticking. The web is only a stop-gap and information place. With a little less of a feeling of crisis, I, for one, will be able to put more attention on what it can do as a vehicle of outrageousness, rather than as a mutual counseling facility for those who feel the shock of endangered roots. The healing will come via the music, not the internet. All I got is a big box of bandaids. What we need is a band. I believe we've got one. God, does it feel good!


Date: May 29 1996 5:26 PM EDT
From: steve_biederman@MENTORG.COM (Steve Biederman)


Your words, which came to me through Mystery Box at Laguna Seca, were so comforting to my soul and so much what I needed to hear.

The message in the sequence of "Down the Road" / "The Next Step" /
"Full Steam Ahead" was pretty unmistakable.

Coming from you, it really meant a lot and I'm getting choked up just
thinking about it, so ... thanks.

Didn't see you wandering around Seca, though some folks said they did. Hope you had the same experience I did: when Jerry left us, one of the really big, scary, deeeeeply sad thoughts was "I'll never be THERE again."

Laguna Seca was THERE, and it sure was nice to be there.

Peace and growth to you.

I'm off for a vacation to London and Amsterdam!



yeah, I was there. I wandered around and bought a hat. I never know if people recognize me or not. Deadheads are ultra-cool that way - they know I like my privacy and let me have it, so I can look, rather than have the feeling of being looked at. I was so happy that day. I was the guy in the hat at stage left with the big grin. Glad you were there. Glad you loved it too.


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