Friday, February 15, 2019

Jack Kerouac in the comics -- again

Hi and Lois comic strip from 2-15-19

Being a fan of Krazy Kat and Popeye and drawing cartoons himself (click here), Jack Kerouac would likely have appreciated today's Hi and Lois comic strip (see above). This is the second time I've seen an On the Road mention in this particular comic strip (click here for the other). We posted about a Kerouac mention in Zits, another favorite comic of mine, here.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

The etymology of Jack Kerouac's character names

James Dean (l) and Professor James Moriarty (r)

We know to a certainty that Jack Kerouac's characters represented real-life people. See, for example, Dave Moore's excellent Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend. We know, for example, that Dean Moriarty in On the Road represents real-life Neal Cassady. But why did Jack use the pseudonym, Dean Moriarty? Was it, as some have suggested, a combination of James Dean -- representing Neal's rebel side -- and Professor James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes -- representing Neal's dark side? How did Jack pick Rheinhold Cacoethes for Kenneth Rexroth? Where did Jack get James Watson for John Clellon Holmes? Why did Jack use Sal Paradise for himself? And so on.

There are bits and pieces about this in various Kerouac biographies and strewn about the 'Net, but I am not aware of a one-stop, comprehensive, evidence-based source for such information; it makes sense to me that such a resource would be of interest to Kerouac scholars and fans. If you are aware of such a resource -- even piecemeal attempts -- let us know in a comment. We may start collecting such information and posting it in one spot in a future blog post.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

We have a free books winner!

"Jack in Texas" just posted a comment about the free book giveaway. He is an ex-Mainer who lives in Texas but has a brother and sister in the Pine Tree State.

Close enough! I declare him the winner. You official "current" Mainers were too slow on the draw.

Jack, send your name and address to so I can mail you the books.


My "It's not you, it's me" theory may have hit a snag

Not so long ago I held one of my periodic book giveaways, and I bemoaned the outcome: There were no takers. I was saddened that I couldn't even give my book away!

On Thursday last (click here), I offered to give away a copy of my book along with two of Jack Kerouac's -- On the Road and The Dharma Bums. Again -- no takers!

This pokes a hole in my theory that it's about my book being unwanted. Maybe people don't want a free Kerouac book either. Meaning it's not me, it's him. Or, maybe my blog isn't read much (although there were 12,351 pageviews last month). Or maybe there really isn't another Kerouac fan in Maine (see the above post for an explanation of that statement).

There really are no strings attached when I give a book away. The first Mainer to comment on Thursday's post gets a free copy of my book -- The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions -- along with the books it references: On the Road and The Dharma Bums. It's at least a $37 value not counting shipping (which is also on me).

Come on, Kerouac fans. Pass the word to your Maine friends and loved ones! I just want to spread the gospel of St. Jack.

Something good will come out of this yet!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Happy Birthday to Neal Cassady and my friend, Keith

It's February 8, which can only mean one thing: It's Neal Cassady's birthday. Neal was born this date in 1926, so he would have been 93 years old today.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to Neal Cassady or an explanation of his connection to Kerouac. What you may not know is that my own Neal Cassady, the person who introduced me to Kerouac in the first place, also celebrates a birthday today.

So Happy Birthday to Neal and Keith, who, to me, are both important Beat muses.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday in Kerouac-land and it's free book day

Here we are. Thursday in Kerouac-land, Maine. It snowed again. I shoveled the driveway/breezeway, front sidewalk & steps, pathways every which way, and the back deck -- again.

Why do I call this Kerouac-land? Because sometimes I feel very, very alone with my Kerouac obsession here in central Maine. In fact, I only know of one other person in the whole state who is Kerouac fan enough to attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac (not counting Crystal, who I wouldn't call a Kerouac fan as much as a tolerant mate), and I haven't seen or heard from him in years. So I'm trying to speak reality into existence by calling this Kerouac-land.

Now, it's a big state geographically speaking but that only accounts for about 1.3 million people.

So I guess you could call me "one in a million."

But I'm not giving up until every single person in Maine has read On the Road and The Dharma Bums.

To wit, if a Mainer (defined as someone currently living in Maine) responds to this post, I will send the first such poster a copy of On the Road and The Dharma Bums as well as my companion reader to both, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions (signed, of course). I will need your name and street address.

And don't post as "Anonymous" or it's likely your post will get spam filtered. And you have to put the word "Maine" and the phrase "free books" in your post to make sure I don't think it's a bot.

Anyway, how's that for a Kerouacian deal? Three free books just for posting a comment. No strings attached except paying it forward somehow (and reading the books!).

Make it so, Number One.