Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Progress on 2010 Kerouac-olutions

Below is my list of 2010 Kerouac-olutions and the current status (which is unlikely to change). I'll post my 2011 Kerouac-olutions on January 1, 2011.

1. Read Atlas Shrugged - DONE
2. Read The Subterraneans -- UNDONE
3. Lose 20 pounds - DONE IN REVERSE
4. Read Dr. Sax - UNDONE
5. Read Vanity of Duluoz - UNDONE
6. Read Maggie Cassidy - UNDONE
7. Use the Versaclimber or hike an equivalency 3 times per week - UNDONE
8. Attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! 2010 with Crystal - UNDONE
9. Get tenure at UMF - DONE
10. Have my second book well under way - UNDONE
11. Build a woodshed and a deck (or cause them to be built)- DONE
12. Visit Arkansas - DONE
13. Write 100 poems - UNDONE (WROTE 26)
14. Wrap up mom's fiscal affairs - DONE
15. Upgrade to a better camper situation - UNDONE
16. Win the songwriting competition at Podunk - UNDONE
17. Win the band competition at Podunk - UNDONE
18. Meet Helen Weaver in person - UNDONE
19. Collaborate on a piece of music with David Amram - UNDONE
20. Figure out how to use my Blackberry as a modem for my laptop - DONE
21. Clean out and organize my office - UNDONE
22. Wash my car at least once during the year - DONE
23. Buy Crystal flowers at least once a month - DONE
24. Drive cross country along Jack's route - UNDONE
25. See Jason - DONE
26. Get my stock portfolio back to at least even - UNDONE
27. Go rock climbing with Keith at least once - UNDONE
28. Try acupuncture for my right hand dystonia problem - UNDONE
29. Consciously appreciate the Hell out of every day the temperature is
above 70 degrees and it doesn't rain - DONE
30. Make it to 55 years young with no major health events - DONE (IF WRIST SURGERY DOESN'T COUNT)

There, now don't you feel better about your accomplishments in 2010?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A man who knew Jack Kerouac

Click here to read about a group of men who routinely gather at Noel's Restaurant & Bakery in Kittery, ME. One of the group, Albert Farrah, is a Lowell native who says he knew Jack. I may have to grab breakfast in Kittery some morning!

That would make four people I've met who knew Jack. The other three: David Amram (in person), Helen Weaver (via e-mail), and Phil from Lowell (click here for that story).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Peter Conners' White Hand Society

A couple of weeks ago I received a review copy of Peter Conners' White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg, recently published (2010) by City Lights Books in San Francisco. I just finished reading it cover-to-cover, and it was an enjoyable read.

Conners' prose is clear and engaging. Chapter 1, "Blakean Vision in Harlem," starts thus:
July 1948. Allen Ginsberg lay in bed reading William Blake. He was 23 years old, heartbroken and lonely (p. 11).

That concise paragraph puts forth quite a lot of detail, and, combined with the chapter title, helps the reader predict exactly where the author is headed: a look into Ginsberg's vision he believes he received directly from William Blake and which launched Ginsberg on the spiritual/poetic path we beat generation aficionados know so well. Ginsberg vowed that day to honor his vision throughout his entire life, and his eventual experimentation with hallucinogens likely assisted him in meeting that pledge.

Chapter 2, "A New Game," introduces us to 35-year-old Timothy Leary, living in Spain with his two children and trying to "put two marriages and an increasingly uncomfortable social and professional life behind him" (p. 22). Already fighting clinical depression, Leary experienced a day of intense physical symptoms - burning scalp, swollen face, water blisters on his face, etc. - which led to a psychological transformation he described as his "entire identity melting away" (p. 24). Two years later he took his first dose of hallucinogens, picking up where his first brush with transformative experience left him.

Starting from those parallel consciousness-raising experiences, Conners then weaves his way through the history of hallucinogenic drugs (especially LSD and psilocybin), their creators/makers (e.g., Albert Hofmann, Owsley Stanley), their proponents (e.g., Ken Kesey), and the evolving but sometimes strained relationship between Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg. Along the way are stories involving Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, William S. Burroughs, and other beat generation characters. We get to see the text of relevant letters written by Leary and Ginsberg, including a gem by Leary to musician Thelonius Monk in 1961 asking him to participate in his psychedelic mushroom research. We also get the background story of Leary's exciting escape from prison, aided by none other than the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers.

Throughout the book, Conners provides extensive details, but never to the expense of comprehension or reading enjoyment. One particularly important detail is the inclusion of the actual transcript from "The Houseboat Summit," an exchange between facilitator Alan Watts (on his boat the S.S. Vallejo), Leary, Ginsberg, and beat poet Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder in The Dharma Bums). It's a prescient interchange of ideas about Leary's notion of "dropping out," with some of the best insights coming from Snyder's ecologically-focused perspective. (You can read it on-line here.)

This is an important addition to the literature on the beat generation, documenting the collaboration between two remarkable visionaries who took America on the ride of her life. If you're a beat generation fan, a hippie, a child of the 60s, or a fan of biographies, you'll be turned on by White Hand Society.

Click here to buy the book directly from City Lights.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Kerouaction" is officially a word

You already know that I invented the word Kerouaction. It's the subtitle of my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions. Now it's an official word according to Urban Dictionary!

Far out, huh?

To celebrate this achievement, feel free to click here and order some copies of The Beat Handbook as Christmas presents! Or birthday presents! Or any-old-reason presents!

Happy Thanksgiving

It's been over two years since publishing The Beat Handbook and starting this blog, and I'm thankful today for all the amazing experiences I've had along the way, from trading books with David Amram to shipping books as far away as India to hanging out in Lowell to meeting folks like the Bootch to having City Lights send me books to review to learning more about Jack Kerouac than I ever imagined possible.

Here's some Kerouac Thanksgiving Day trivia for you:

"Strong and athletic, Kerouac was a talented football player. In the Thanksgiving Day football game during his senior year, he scored the game-winning touchdown. The ball was tipped, he stretched out and grabbed it just inches from the ground, and he bulled his way into the end zone. The fans went crazy, and several college scouts in the stadium couldn't help but be impressed. Kerouac accepted an athletic scholarship to Columbia University, where he met William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg." (Source: American Society of Authors and Writers)

If it weren't for football and Thanksgiving, would there even have been a Jack Kerouac as we know him?

Now, the Kerouaction for today is to go eat too much turkey.


P.S. For a previous and similar post, click here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

William S. Burroughs documentary

Check this out: William S. Burroughs: A Man Within.

As Daily Beat readers know, Burroughs was one of the core beat generation figures, influencing both Kerouac and Ginsberg in ways literary and otherwise. He was represented in several of Jack's books as follows:

Book of Dreams - Bull Hubbard
Desolation Angels - Bull Hubbard
On the Road - Old Bull Lee
The Subterraneans - Frank Carmody
The Town and the City - Will Dennison
Vanity of Duluoz - Will Hubbard


Not too long ago I read Burroughs' Junky, and Naked Lunch is on my list.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another new book from City Lights to review


City Lights just sent me another book to review: Kaddish and Other Poems 1958-1960: Expanded 50th Anniversary Edition by Allen Ginsberg.

Stay tuned . . . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

For the "Damn, why didn't I think of that?" file


This was just sent to me from my friend, Kerri, who is visiting Colorado. Nice.

I think I know what my next personalized plate in Maine is going to be (if it's available).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg: Upcoming Review


Out of the clear blue California sky, a package arrived this past week. It was a book-sized package, and the return address was City Lights in San Francisco, which readers of The Daily Beat know is the premier beat generation bookstore on the planet. I had not ordered anything from City Lights, which could only mean one thing: they had again, as with Helen Weaver's book (see link on the right and my review here) The Awakener, entrusted me with a review copy of a new publication.

Indeed, I am now in possession of White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg by Peter Conners. I have promised my contact at City Lights - who e-mailed me subsequently - a review, so stay tuned.

With chapter titles like "Enter LSD, Exit Harvard" and "Human Be-In," it promises to be an interesting read.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On The Bro'd?

I am speechless that 1) someone would write something so blatantly stupid as On The Bro'd: Every Sentence of Jack Kerouac's On The Road, Retold for Bros.", and 2) that New York Press would review this drivel.

Talk about trying to capitalize on Jack's fame, which I've been accused of, but at least my book was an homage to Jack, albeit tongue-in-cheek in part.

Here's a sample from On The Bro'd:
But then they strutted down the streets like total pimps, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after bros who interest me, because the only bros for me are the awesome ones, the ones who are mad to chug, mad to party, mad to bone, mad to get hammered, desirous of all the chicks at Buffalo Wild Wings, the ones who never turn down a Bud Light Lime, but chug, chug, chug like fucking awesome players exploding like spiders across an Ed Hardy shirt and in the middle you see the silver skull pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

In case you don't know what a "bro" is, here you go: Urban Dictionary.

Connecting the beats with bros is a travesty of the first order. Jack is rolling in his grave, and I am wondering what it would take to get the New York Press to review The Beat Handbook. Oh, wait. I forgot. It's not nearly stupid enough.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac

We haven't played 6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac lately, and this isn't exactly that, but I do have an interesting connection to make.

My great friend, Keith, introduced me to Jack Kerouac's writing around 2002 or so. As you no doubt have ascertained by now, I became a bit obsessed with Jack, evidenced by my having written a book as an homage to him, not to mention my maintaining this Kerouac-focused blog, attending Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, visiting Kerouac destinations (his grave, San Francisco, Big Sur), etc.

Another hero of Keith's is Aron Ralston, the guy who got his arm trapped under a boulder out west and cut it off (his arm, not the boulder) in order to free himself. Aron's grim adventure is detailed in a new movie, 127 Hours.

127 Hours was reviewed by Regina Weinreich on The Huffington Post on Nov. 5. In that same article - available here - she mentions a new documentary, Practice of the Wild, which features Gary Snyder, who was the inspiration for the characters Japhy Ryder in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums.

So, Keith, Ms. Weinreich mentioned Jack Kerouac and Aron Ralston in the same article. How's that for connections?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Perpetuating the On The Road myth

This article from The Independent - which made signing in to leave a comment quite painful - perpetuates the myth that Jack wrote On The Road in 3 weeks. Indeed, he typed it in 3 weeks, but he was writing it for years.

See my December 9, 2008 post for some pretty strong evidence supporting my position. Indeed, as The Independent article states, he kept copious notes, but he also began writing sections of it long before his famous 3-week caffeine-fueled scroll typing session.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Films related to the Beats

Regarding my previous post, there is really no need for me to compile a list of Beat films, given that it's been done before by UC Berkeley (and probably many other folks).

Beat films

The release of Howl may trigger an interest in other films about the Beats. I'm going to compile a list and share it in the near future, but in the meantime you can read about a couple of others here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lucy Jones calls beat poetry "rubbish"

Dear Readers:

Perhaps some of you would like to respond to Lucy Jones' article in which she calls beat poetry "rubbish." It is available here.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

55

It seems impossible, but my 55th birthday is fast approaching (Dec. 11). Consequently, I decided to make out my impossible birthday present list.

1. A first edition, hardcover, signed copy of On The Road in mint condition
2. A first edition, hardcover, signed copy of The Dharma Bums in mint condition
3. 50 copies of The Beat Handbook selling on December 11
4. A Jack Kerouac Bobblehead Doll (given out by the Lowell Spinners in August 2003)
5. One of Jack's typewriters
6. An all-expenses-paid adventure trip to Desolation Peak
7. An original, autographed letter signed by Jack (available on eBay for a mere $18,000)
8. Any book written by and signed by Jack
9. A first edition of On The Road: The Original Scroll (Viking, 2007)
10. A review of The Beat Handbook in The New York Times

By the time Jack was 55, he'd been dead for 8 years, so I'll be doing a lot better than him. That rather makes gifts irrelevant, doesn't it?

Jack's beloved Desolation Peak inspires band name

British pop sensation Keane got drunk one night and decided to release an alt-country album. They named their alter-ego band Mt. Desolation, after Jack's beloved Desolation Peak in the Cascades.

Read about it here.

Cool.

Jack wrote On The Road because "We're all gonna die."

See this article about the longevity accorded to writers who win the Booker award.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One year ago today

One year ago today, my mom died. It seems like a lot longer than that, so much so that I just looked at her death certificate to confirm it. In general, as I get older, my perception is that time passes more quickly. A year doesn't seem like a year. It seems shorter. So looking forward, anticipated dates come faster. "A month from now is Thanksgiving," and boom! Thanksgiving is here. I get that. But looking backward, why does a year ago seem like two? Shouldn't it seem compressed as well? Shouldn't it seem like mom died a few months ago? Or is there some weird paradoxical effect in play here?

What's the Kerouaconnection, you ask? Jack and his mom were very close, unhealthily so, some would say (he more or less lived with her his entire 47 years). So he would resonate with me reminiscing about mom one year after she died.

RIP, Elizabeth Wetmore Dale, b. 6/11/24 d. 10/23/09; daughter of Edson and Ruth; mother of James, William, and Richard; grandmother of Jason; wife of Hugh; Mansfield State College graduate; musician, teacher, homemaker, writer, friend . . . Mom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RIP, Jack Kerouac

On this date in 1969, Jack Kerouac died. It was a sad day, one that I have opined about twice before in The Daily Beat:

       October 21, 2009
       October 21, 2008

I'm not sure what to say that hasn't already been said. Right now I'm reading Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang, and I keep seeing similarities to Kerouac's style. Abbey wasn't too complimentary of Kerouac, saying
Jack Kerouac, like a sick refrigerator, worked too hard at keeping cool and died on his mama's lap from alcohol and infantilism.
I unabashedly included this quote in the introduction to The Beat Handbook. Yet Abbey also said,
A shelf of classics for our young adults: Tolkien, Hesse, Casteneda, Kerouac [emphasis added], Salinger, Tom Robbins, and The Last Whole Earth Catalog.
(NOTE: For more Abbey quotes, visit Abbey's Web.)

But why bring up Edward Abbey on the anniversary of Jack's death? That's where my mind went. And Jack of all people would be a fan of writing spontaneously.

Jack, you've taught me a lot, and I for one am thankful you existed. Critics can dry up like tomb dust and blow away for all I care. You're an enduring force in American literature, and there's nothing that will ever change that.

Rest well.

Literary tattoos Redux

To read yet another article about literary tattoos, click here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life Lines wins Writer's Digest Award!

My friend Charlie's poetry book, Life Lines, which I edited and self-published, has won the poetry category in the 18th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards! Hot damn - that is big! The prizes are staggering, and beyond the nice cash prize is the heavy publicity it gets.

I've been trying to convince readers of The Daily Beat to buy Charlie's book on its own merits, not just because I had a hand in it. Now you have an objective opinion. Charlie is a great poet and deserves wide recognition. Please support him and buy his book on Amazon.

Huzzah, Charlie!

Jack Kerouac, weed, and the thought police

Here's an amusing tongue-in-cheek article from The Eastern Echo, an Eastern Michigan University independent newspaper. It names Jack as one of the "peripheral damages" of the widespread use of marijuana in our culture.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kerouac tattoos

Check out this Kerouac tattoo! Wow! Beautiful.

I've been pondering my next ink, and a Kerouac quote has been at the top of the list for a while. I just need to decide on a place for it.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Desolation Peak alternative?

If, like me, you'd love to visit Kerouac's Desolation Peak in the North Cascades but it's too tough a trek, there's an alternative that might give you a similar experience. It's the fire lookout at Park Butte, a few miles southeast of Jack's beloved cabin. You can read about it here. At 7 miles and 5,400 feet with a 2,200 foot elevation gain, it rivals the hike to Baxter Peak here in Maine, which almost did me in during the summer of 2009. I haven't tried anything nearly that difficult since, and may not again. But, it's in the back of my mind.

I plan to hike French's Mountain later today. It's more my speed. After all, I am approaching the double nickel. And, it's only a couple of miles from home.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Beat Generation and The Tea Party

This article in the NY Times compares the Beat Generation with The Tea Party. At first blush, this seems ludicrous, but the author does draw some logical comparisons. Once I got over the initial warnings from my bullshit meter, I actually got a kick out of this article. Maybe you will, too.

15,000 visits!

The Daily Beat has topped 15,000 visits since Sitemeter tracking started on October 25, 2008, soon after The Beat Handbook was published and I started this blog. My Kerouacthusiasm has not waned, but after 100s of blog posts (see the archives to the right), it does get difficult to come up with something new to say, especially on a daily basis (as I did in the first year).

Thanks to everyone who follows The Daily Beat or checks in from time-to-time. I'm going to try to post more regularly again. It seems easier to do in the winter months, particularly in Maine where if one is not a skier or snowmobiler, one gets a bunch of "inside time" for several months.

Happy 10/10/10. Jack didn't see one of these dates, not having lived during the first twelve years of a century. And you reading this will only get two more: 11/11//11 and 12/12/12. That puts some perspective on things.

Crystal pointed out that my first full day of 57-ness will be on 12/12/12. 5 + 7 = 12. And 12 is 2 numbers that add up to 3, making 23, which is the enigma attributed to beat legend William S. Burroughs that I wrote about here and on several other occasions in The Daily Beat (click on the 23 under Labels below to read the others).

Weird.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jack Kerouac Memorial Walk

If, like me, you didn't get a chance to visit Lowell last weekend for Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!, another Kerouac event is slated in Lowell for October 21, the date of Jack's death. It's called The Jack Kerouac Memorial Walk. Read about it here. I can't make it, but I'll be there in spirit (especially if you attend and drag around your dog-eared copy of The Beat Handbook).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jack Kerouac and fame

Here's a NY Times article about Jack's angst over his fame (the article failed to stress that he actually had a love-hate relationship with it). I have to imagine that today's pressure on successful writers would drive him farther and faster into the bottle than in his own time.

We have a new opportunity as faculty to engage with students in their themed residence dorms (communities) about a subject of our choosing. One of the communities is the Writers' Nook. I'm thinking about offering to talk about Kerouac using my book as a foundation of my discussion. However, one of the things holding me back is the self-promotion aspect of it (or at least the perception of self-promotion). We'll see . . . .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bummed out but don't you be

This is Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! weekend in beautiful Lowell, MA, and promises to be yet another fantastic opportunity to hang out in Jack's hometown with fellow Kerouac afficionados. Crystal and I have gone the past two years in a row, but won't be making it this year because of other commitments. So, I'm bummed but you don't have to be because you can go instead and let us all know about it. Just send me an e-mail (thebeathandbook@gmail.com) and I'll post your report here on The Daily Beat.

Here's the schedule for this year's festivities. Check back entries here on The Daily Beat for reports and pictures from LCK! 2008 and 2009.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hail, Allen Ginsberg

Check out this article about Allen Ginsberg: Howl's Echoes.

A visit to Desolation Peak

Click here for a modern-day story about a visit to Kerouac's beloved Desolation Peak, referenced in several of his novels. I wrote about this in a previous post available here.

If I could visit one Kerouac destination that I doubt I'll ever really do, this is it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: The Expendables

SPOILER ALERT: Read at your own peril if you haven't seen the movie.

You may be wondering why I am reviewing The Expendables here on The Daily Beat, a blog admittedly dedicated to Jack Kerouac and all things Beat Generation. Well, first of all, it's my blog and I can write about anything I want. And second, there are some pretty beat characters in the movie, especially Mickey Rourke, who can't help but play a beat character regardless of the role he's in. Having said that (are you listening, Robert?), here goes my brief review of the movie.

It was pretty much what I expected: lots of testerone-driven posturing and banter, high (and bloody) body count (although Rambo was more graphic), and extreme explosions. It's a classic "guy flick," including a couple of attractive females (three, to be exact).

Here are some things I liked. I liked the soundtrack. The heroes' plane took off for the mission accompanied by Mountain's "Mississippi Queen," causing a big smile on my face. This was one of several homages to classic action films of the past (remember Predator and the choppers heading into the jungle with "Travelin' Band" by CCW playing in the background?). Other homages (which go on the "I like" list) included scenes right out of The Magnificent Seven and also The Dirty Dozen (with a better outcome than Jim Brown's fate in that movie, which I always watch and I root for him regardless of knowing what will happen). I think there were obvious references to Commando (especially the plot), as well as to any number of other buddy-action movies, Lethal Weapon being one example.

I liked some of the banter. Mickey Rourke never fails to impress me in a movie - he steals any scene he is in. Stallone was ripped as usual, and the rest were their usual lethal selves. UFC champ Randy Couture's cauliflower ears were the source of some comedy, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was menacing as Eric Roberts' heavy. Speaking of Eric Roberts: Can he play anything but a douchebag? Sorry, I digress.

Here are some things I didn't like. The required opening action scene stretched belief too much for me, and it was too expected. Can't action films find another way to start out without a mini-mission showing how bad-ass the stars can be? The plot was thin, but I expected that. Some of the banter was poorly written. For example, Statham introducing himself as Buda and Stallone as Pest just didn't work. Rourke didn't have enough screen time. The Dolph Lundgren subplot was stupid (especially the ending). And that no one from the the "team" got killed going up against such odds is just astonomically ridiculous.

Was it worth the price of admission? Absolutely. I've always fantasized about unlikely actor combinations, and Stallone made one happen.

And what about the much-touted Stallone/Schwarzenegger/Willis scene? I wasn't that impressed with it. Too tongue-in-cheek for me. But Stallone's comment when Schwarzenegger was leaving brought a laugh from the audience.

All in all, it was a lot of fun to see guys my age kicking some ass. I'm almost inspired enough to start hitting the weights.

Almost.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review: The Buddha and the Dream of America

As promised in my August 1st post, here is my review of James Hilgendorf’s book, The Buddha and the Dream of America. I finished the book about a week ago but have needed some time to process it and figure out what to write.

As I said previously, the book is organized into 60+ short essays (very much like The Beat Handbook – lots of white space in which to write). The central theme of the book surrounds the author’s contention that a new spiritual civilization is emerging as foretold by Buddha in the Lotus Sutra, and that America is the wellspring of that renaissance. Hilgendorf calls it an American Renaissance, and says its foundation was laid by Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman, among others.

“The real America encompasses the universe itself” (p. 127).

The general tone of the book is uplifting. I especially enjoyed “What Is True Accomplishment” on p. 33.

Two points of criticism. First, the essays are not all focused around the theme of the book, resulting in a lack of coherence. Second, the author proselytizes frequently about a particular type of Buddhism, Soka Gakkai International, which espouses the chanting of the phrase, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Hilgendorf believes that “the Buddhism of the Soka Gakkai is a religion that will enrich the lives of billions of people and the civilization to come, unlocking innumerable souls, awakening everyone to the eternity of their own life” (p. 97).

I have spent a bit of time studying about Buddhism, and I have to say that the Buddha would probably not be a fan of the highly ritualized, systematic, organized approaches that have sprung up in his name. I’m not a Buddhist scholar, and I’m not looking to get into an argument about it. It’s just my opinion.

Indeed, the Buddha is credited with saying:

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

And the author’s own Whitman said:

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men—go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families—re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul . . . .


My own soul and common sense tell me to stay clear of specific paths to enlightenment like Soka Gakkai. I think Jiddu Krishnamurti had this about right.

Nevertheless, I have to say that the book kept me interested enough to finish it, and there are some worthwhile messages within its 145 pages. Ultimately, I was a little confused by the book’s overall message (what exactly is America’s role?), but I enjoyed myself along the way.

“Our deepest soul strains to find that which is beyond ourselves” (p. 141). Some of Hilgendorf’s essays do point us on that journey, like the proverbial finger pointing at the moon.



The Buddha and the Dream of America is available at The Tribute Series.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Buddha and the Dream of America

I recently received a review copy of James Hilgendorf's new book, The Buddha and the Dream of America, published by The Tribute Series out of Eugene, OR. Once I finish reading it, I'll write a review here on The Daily Beat. It's available at bookstores or on-line at The Tribute Series. James has written three other books and also co-produces a highly acclaimed video travel series with his brother John.

From scanning the book, it appears to be a organized into 60+ short essays, ranging from titles like "The Religion of the Future" to "What Do Scientists Know?"

Stay tuned for a full review in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life Lines

My friend Charlie's book, which I edited and for which I wrote the introduction, has received a pretty damn good review on Amazon. Check it out!

Life Lines on Amazon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Views on the upcoming Road film

The talking heads are at it regarding the upcoming film version of On The Road. No matter what, it won't meet some people's expectations, but I rather agree with this analysis.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kerouac's last typewriter for sale

On June 22, Christie's will be auctioning off Jack's last typewriter. I am hoping that someone will snatch it up for me as a gift. It's only going to cost between $20-$30 thousand!

Click here for the listing.


P.S. Faithful readers of The Daily Beat will remember that I have opined about getting my hands on one of Jack's typewriters in an earlier post (click here).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peter Orlovsky

Peter Orlovsky, poet and Ginsberg muse/companion, died on Sunday.

Click here for a NY Times piece on the subject.

Offbeat by David Amram


Above is the cover of David Amram's book, Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac. We traded books at Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! last October. Below is how he inscribed my copy.



David is an amazing musician. If you ever get the chance to see him perform, take it. You won't be disappointed.

Happy Birthday, Allen Ginsberg

Today is Allen Ginsberg's birthday, so we beat aficionados will be taking some time out of our day to read Howl or listen to Allen read it (click here).

Today's free-spirited youth wonder what the beat generation has to do with them. How ironic. Allen, forgive them for they know not whence they come.

And happy birthday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beatnik redux

Once again I have had to set the record straight on the term "beatnik." See this article and my comment: Review: On the Road.

A message to The Daily Beat followers

The Daily Beat has 46 followers. W00t! If you're one of the 46 and also want to follow my rantings on Facebook, please send me a friend request (you'll find me on Facebook as Rick Dale). Send along a message telling me that it's in response to this post so I'll know you're not some random spammer.

Thanks for following The Daily Beat and I hope to see you on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Now I'm getting worried about the Road movie


Gag. They've added Kirsten Dunst to the cast of On The Road. Click here for details. You literally cannot tell Kirsten Dunst and actress Julia Stiles apart (see above), which says a lot about her memorability factor. Plus she can't act worth a hoot.

PLEASE, Mr. Salles, be careful with casting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jack Kerouac: Graduation Speaker

Click here to read about Jack Kerouac being the best possible choice as a graduation speaker. Clever article!

Maybe we could find someone to channel him.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ginsberg's photos at National Gallery of Art

Click here to read an NPR story about Allen Ginsberg's photos on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There's a slide show of 14 pieces. #16 is interesting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inch by bloody inch

Click here for details about actress Kristin Stewart joining the cast of the upcoming movie version of On The Road. She is slated to play Marylou. All signs point to filming to begin - FINALLY! - this summer. W00t!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Two things

Two Ginsberg things today.

First, I invoked Ginsberg in a Facebook post about the famous "topless parade" going on in Farmington as I type this (while I sit in class proctoring a quiz). I said the Allen Ginsberg in me wanted to attend: nude. Another commenter said he wouldn't want to see Allen Ginsberg nude. I mentioned that I had Ginsberg's poem, "America," on my desk at that very moment. He replied as follows:
I performed America at a speech tournament as an undergrad - had a coach who changed the word fuck to hell, and my judge was a big Ginsberger and wrote on my critique, "You changed the words, so fuck you." I never let my speech coach change anything I read after that.

I laughed outloud. One of the funniest, best, unsolicited beat stories I've read in a long time!

Second, I happened on this today, and thought you might enjoy it: Ginsberg in the 50s.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News about the Road movie

The latest news is that On The Road may start filming this summer, with Garrett Hedlund slated to play Dean Moriarty. No news yet on who will play Kerouac. I blogged about this on November 26, 2008. Read the story here.

I sure hope they get this movie right. It's a long shot, I know, but I'm pulling for them.

The Subterraneans

I finished reading The Subterraneans today. I had a false start with it last year, and a few stalls this time around, but I finally got into it about half-way through.

Kerouac really pulls you into his love affair with Mardou, with all of the accompanying passions and anxieties. Easy to relate to if you've had a love affair. Kerouac is at his spontaneous best here, and if I hadn't forced my way through Visions of Cody I may have given up again.

The nice thing about The Subterraneans, compared to Visions of Cody, is that it is shorter and, in my view, the plot is easier to stay engaged with. If you want to experience Kerouac's truly spontaneous style (much moreso than in The Dharma Bums or On The Road), I recommend this book as a starting point.

As usual, you'll need a key if you want to know what real-life people the characters represent. I was proud of myself for figuring out on my own (from Kerouac's description) which character was John Clellon Holmes. Here's a key (if you don't already have one bookmarked): Jack Kerouac Character Key.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beat poet Michael McClure (Pat McLear in Big Sur) to read in Portsmouth, NH

Beat poet Michael McClure, immortalized as Pat McLear in Kerouac's Big Sur, will be reading in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as part of Jazzmouth's "Main Event" on Saturday April 24. Click here for details.

McClure recently published a volume of poetry titled Mysteriosos and Other Poems. It's available on Amazon. While you're there, think about picking up a copy of The Beat Handbook as a companion reader.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interview with Malcom McLaren

Click here to read an interview with pop culture icon Malcolm McLaren, who died yesterday, in which he admits that our Jack was a major influence:
I definitely wanted to meet Jack Kerouac. Growing up in the 1950's and going to art school in London in the 1960's, these were ones [sic] heroes, one looked upon Jack Kerouac, this Beat Poet, this writer of the great Bohemian Novel, On The Road, and the guy who basically created the leather jacket, the blue denim jeans, the white T-shirt and the biker boot look. The people such as the group The Ramones are really just the grandchildren of the style of Jack Kerouac. Jack Kerouac was responsible for the creation of the original rock n roll in 1949 - and that was my guy.

You go, Jack. I never knew you were responsible for creating rock-n-roll!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jack Kerouac lives on and on

I routinely use Google's blog search to check for mentions of Jack. A day never goes by without at least a passing reference, if not an entire post devoted to him or his work. For example, click here to check out the post, "Rereading Jack Kerouac's On the Road," featured in the blog, A Designer's Musings.

Jack was obsessed with his own mortality, which contributed to his prolific writing habits, which in turn assured his immortality.

Forty years after I die, who will be reading something I wrote?

Alas . . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jack Kerouac makes Esquire's "75 Best Dressed Men of All Time"

While it's no surprise to regular readers of The Daily Beat, Jack Kerouac was named to Esquire's "75 Best Dressed Men of All Time" list. He's number 23 in the list available here (don't get me started on the number 23 phenomenon - see my previous post on the matter here).

Jack's in good company with the likes of Steve McQueen, Sean Connery, and other sartorial role models.

When you see me in my flannel shirts, Carhartt workpants, and hiking boots, just remember: Jack thought of it first.

William S. Burroughs article

Click here for a short article about William S. Burroughs in The Wichita Eagle about his decision to live out his remaining years in Lawrence, Kansas.

According to the article, at Burroughs' funeral a University of Kansas faculty member said:

The world would not be what it is today had "Naked Lunch" [sic] not been written, or had the censors succeeded in suppressing it. . . . He stood for freedom for everyone — not, for example, just for the polite homosexuals who could mix easily in elite academic company, but for the drag queens and the hard-core leather-and-chains crowd as well. He challenged our mores and our conditioning to the core.

Huzzah to anyone who challenges our mores and conditioning!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Beat Handbook gets a stellar review

See Wandering Stiff for a stellar review of The Beat Handbook. Today was not a stellar day, so finding out about this was just what the doctor ordered.

While you're visiting Wandering Stiff, check out the rest of this interesting blog!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetry

Readers of the The Daily Beat may not be aware of my other blog where I write poetry. I set a goal this year to write 100 poems. I'm up to 15 - not on track, but gaining.

If you wish, you can read my poetry at Words Are My Drug of Choice.

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jack's ode to Charlie Parker

In a recent post we mentioned Charlie Parker. Click here to listen to Jack reading his ode to Charlie Parker, backed up by Steve Allen on the piano.

Good stuff.

Texas almost deletes the Beat Generation from social studies standards

You can't even make up stupid shit like this.

Dear Texas: GET A GRIP!

When State Boards of Education even ponder ideas like deleting references to the Beat Generation from social studies standards, it's pretty clear that it's all swirling around the drain, folks.

Jack's turning over in his grave.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jack Kerouac's illegitimate son?

A friend was musing on Facebook the other day about how her mother and Jack Kerouac were about the same age, yet it was hard to picture her mom as someone from the "beat generation." I said I had no problem with it and just threw it out there that my mom, being quite a gadabout in her younger years as the wife of a prominent hotelier and frequently visiting NYC, probably had a fling with Jack. Another friend on Facebook asked, "Was it in early 1955?"

That started the wheels turning. Where was Jack in March 1955 (nine months before I was born)? Where was my mom?

It's not inconceivable that they both were in NYC at the same time. I think Jack was living with Memere in Rocky Mount, NC, having moved there to be with her in February 1955. But he probably made some trips back to NYC. Interestingly, almost exactly 9 months to the day before I was born on 12-11-55, Charlie "Bird" Parker died (March 12, 1955). That would have bummed Jack out, being such a huge fan of the Bird and jazz in general. What did Jack do when he was bummed out? Drink and bar-hop. I doubt there was too much opportunity to do that in Rocky Mount. So he probably heard of Bird's death and hopped a bus to NYC to catch up with friends and do some serious drinking. This is all speculation, of course.

Let's speculate further. Maybe mom was in NYC with dad for some convention he was attending. He would have been tied up all day, and mom would have been shopping alone during the day and meeting dad for dinner that night. They took me with them one time, and all I remember is that I tried eating ox tongue at a dinner and it wasn't half bad. Maybe mom shopped all morning and decided to get a quick drink at a local tavern. She wasn't a bad-looking woman! Here's a pic of mom and dad at the Paramount in NYC around that time.


Anyway, guess who she runs into at the bar? Why, Jack, of course. You can fill in the remaining details yourself.

So, as Paul Harvey used to say, "And now you know . . . the rest of the story."

And now we know why I'm so obsessed with Jack Kerouac!

Seriously, folks, I'm just having fun here . . . wait a minute . . . I wonder what an heir to the Kerouac estate stands to inherit in on-going royalties?

Hmmm . . . .

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac!

This is only the second time Jack Kerouac’s birthday has rolled around during the existence of The Daily Beat, which started in earnest shortly after my book’s publication in September 2008. Last year we declared March as Jack Kerouac Month and posted a new Kerouaction every day of the month. You can read the lead-in post for that month here. You can read any of that month’s posts by using the blog archive on the right. The Daily Beat’s first and only post on Jack’s birthday is available here.

If you have the chance, a bunch of celebratory activities are taking place this weekend in Jack’s hometown of Lowell, MA. Click here for a schedule. While I’ve been to Lowell for Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! the last two years in a row, I’ve never attended the birthday festivities in Lowell. I really wish I could go this year because I think I’m going to miss LCK! in lieu of my band playing at The Dempsey Challenge.

Alas, we have a limited time in this world so we can’t do or be everything, a fact Jack well knew and commiserated about routinely in his writing. Speaking of time, it just struck me that Jack’s birthday falls in the same month as St. Patrick’s Day. Jack was Irish, you know, a fact about which I expounded here.
I guess I should apologize for taking the writer’s cheap way out and doing a retrospective on Jack’s birthday instead of writing something original, but this is what came out spontaneously so I’m going with it (in honor of what Jack would do, making it a true Kerouaction).

Today, in honor of the greatest American author who ever lived, read something by Jack Kerouac. Even if you don’t have a Kerouac novel handy, it’s easy to do by visiting Google books and searching for Jack Kerouac. A number of his books have limited previews there. Another thing you could do is buy my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions, at Amazon.

That would give me two reasons to be happy today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Little books

This article at the London Review Blog gives me encouragement about my next book. Short is fine! Plus, it sounds like Lulu.com is an easy and cheap self-publishing option.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What was Jack Kerouac doing on this date in 1948?

It's the last day of February 2010, and something is spurring me to post a blog entry here on The Daily Beat. But, I don't really have anything in particular to say. What does a writer do in such cases?

Well, one could always point to a previous post, say the one I posted one year ago on February 28, 2009. But that's lazy.

How about some research?

One could surmise about what Jack was doing on February 28 some particular year. How about 1948, a few months after the California trip that was the source of the beginning of On The Road? As best I can tell (given that someone has yet - to my knowledge - to put together a day-by-day account of Jack's whereabouts and activities [NOTE TO SELF: book idea!]), Jack was living in the Ozone Park apartment in Queens, NYC (see picture above) with his mother (his father had lived with them there but died in 1946; Jack met Neal Cassady in 1947).

According to Douglas Brinkley's Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 (2004, p. 56), Jack wrote on this date:
I'm going to write ceaselessly about the dignity of human beings no matter who and or what they are, and the less dignity a person has the fewer words I'll use. It's the sheer humanness of a man that comes first, whether geek, fag, 'Negro,' or criminal, whether preacher, financier, father, or senator, whether whore, child, or gravedigger. I con't care who or what -- and that I should have cared before is an insult to Dostoevsky, Melville, Jesus, and my fathers. Wrote 1000-words and typed out 2000-words, and on Saturday night too(!).

Some time in early 1948 - maybe on this date? - according to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe (1994, p. 212), Allen Ginsberg "met . . . [Kerouac] in the subway and asked Jack to beat him up!" Shades of Fight Club: maybe Chuck Palahniuk borrowed his whole storyline from the Ginsberg-Kerouac relationship!

Well, I've written myself into the proverbial corner and don't know how to get out. February. 1948. Ozone Park. Dostoevsky. Chuck Palahniuk.

Okay, I'll finish with this. Jack used to hang out at the bar across the street from the Ozone Park walkup. Maybe he was in there this very day in 1948. Then it was called the Doxey Tavern. Now it's called Glen Patrick's Pub. It's located at 133-10 Cross Bay Boulevard and looks like this:

You'd better believe it's on my list of Kerouac pubs to visit!

Do you know what Jack was doing this very day in 1948? Let us know your thoughts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Huffington Post gets it wrong about Jack

This article about Tiger Woods (about whom I care not a penny farthing) claims that Jack Kerouac was a Buddhist. I was forced to sign up as a user of this insipid blog in order to correct the record. Jack did not consider himself a Buddhist. He studied Buddhism. He wrote about it. But he considered himself a Catholic.

That's my understanding from the ton of reading I've done. Anyone disagree?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts

Click here for a Life magazine piece that lets you scroll through 44 different literary figures and a brief statement about their favorite intoxicant. Burroughs is represented, as is our hero Jack. Even our friend Ayn Rand (who I think, as my regular readers already know, had an affair with Kerouac) is represented. Did you know old Ayn was a speed freak?

Bring on the booze and get writing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Amazon screws up big time


Imagine you're me. You self-publish a book with BookSurge (an Amazon company) in 2008. To date, according to your author account, 52 books have sold on Amazon. 29 of those books sold in 2009, accounting for less than $150 in royalties. Now imagine getting the above W9 from Amazon along with 16 other W9s - in separate envelopes - from various Amazon subsidiaries totaling over $300,000! Yeah! Only $299,850 too much reported to the IRS!

It turns out it was a computer error. That's fairly obvious from the bogus social security number, but still - it gave me quite a start until I investigated.

Amazon says it has corrected the error in its records, hasn't reported the faulty information to the IRS, and will be re-issuing correct W9s.

Right.


P.S. If you want to toss me an actual royalty, my book is available at The Beat Handbook.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jack Kerouac and the Super Bowl

One of the best Super Bowl commercials this year was a Google Search Story called "Parisian Love." Clever! Click here to watch it.

Did you know there are other Google Search Stories, one of which is a tip of the hat to our favorite author, Jack Kerouac? Click here to watch "Mad to Live," featuring what I assume is the only recording we have of Jack reading his most oft-quoted words, "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live . . . ." Awesome!

By the way, this is not the first time I've written about Jack and the Super Bowl. See my post from last year here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"And when I die . . .

...and when I'm dead, dead and gone
There'll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on"

Always loved the Blood, Sweat, & Tears version of this and just learned it was written by Laura Nyro. I was thinking of it when I read that Canadian folksinger Kate McGarrigle just died and they read from Kerouac's On the Road at her funeral. Click here to read the article.

So I guess I'm compiling a list for my "funeral." Not that I even want one; I'd prefer - when my time comes - that anyone who's left that gives a shit just get together and have a big old drunken bash at whatever my favorite watering hole happens to be at the time. But at whatever event takes place, read some Kerouac, play the BS&T song above, play some bluegrass music, and lift a glass of Bushmills (21-year-old single malt) in my memory. If anything else comes to my mind, I'll be sure to let you know.

You can tell a lot about a person by their funeral. Kate McGarrigle, I'm sorry to admit I wasn't clued in on your work while you were living, but now I want to check it out. You must have been something else.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Beat Handbook author on TV

Dear Daily Beat fans and visitors,

If you want to see a video of yours truly appearing with his bluegrass band, The NitPickers, on TV last Friday night, click here.

The connection to this blog's professed topic? Why, the banjo player wrote a book about Jack Kerouac! How's that for a connection?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

J.D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac

J.D. Salinger, who died this past week at age 91, and Jack Kerouac, who died at the too-young-age of 47 in 1969, did have something in common, according to Mike Littwin of The Denver Post:
There was a time when the book [Catcher in the Rye] was in every backpack alongside Kerouac's "On the Road" as textbooks for how to be a young rebel.

Both Salinger's and Kerouac's examples of rebelliousness can seem a bit tame in today's culture of extreme everything, but they both hit a chord that still speaks today to those who would listen to their message and not get hung up on cultural specifics.

I am sad to say that I've never read Catcher in the Rye, although I plan to begin rectifying that as soon as I finish Atlas Shrugged, which should be tomorrow.

I think Catcher was "required" reading at some point in high school, but somehow I avoided it. That was part of how, to my own detriment, my rebellious streak manifested: refusing to read when I was told I "had to." So, now, in my later years, I've become obsessed with Kerouac, who, like Salinger, I'd never read until well into middle age; I'm currently reading Ayn Rand's incredibly dense tome; and, I'm anticipating with relish finding out just who was this Holden Caulfield character, why he was out in a rye field, and what in the Hell he was catching.


P.S. If you want to read a poem I wrote about Salinger, check out my other blog here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jack Kerouac, Wendy's chili, and Lowell, MA

I just read in today's newspaper that a lumber truck driver was eating chili from Wendy's when he hit a bump, causing him to choke on the chili and pass out. His truck, at that point without a driver, ran into a house in Jack's hometown of Lowell, MA.

I'm not sure if Jack would have been a fan of Wendy's chili, but I do know this: if he were eating in a moving vehicle, he would have been a passenger, not the driver. As you know, Jack pretty much eschewed driving and never even got a license. His approach is an excellent strategy for avoiding a ticket for eating while driving, which the newspaper reports may be the outcome for the chili-eating truck driver.

Six degrees of Jack Kerouac strikes again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another book for the Kerouac shelf

My bookcase devoted to books by and about Jack Kerouac is getting pretty full, but that doesn't dissuade me from collecting. I just learned about a 2006 book called Action Writing: Jack Kerouac's Wild Form by Michael Hrebeniak. According to Westchester.com, it "was praised by Beat scholars and poets" (click here for the quote source and a scheduled reading by the author at Westchester Community College).

Here's a link to the book on Google books.

It's on my Wish List at Amazon! Hint, hint . . . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kerouac's time in Detroit

Click here to read a detailed description of Jack's time with first wife Edie Parker and his time spent in Detroit.

Jack Kerouac's FBI Files Part 4 - Conclusion


Here is the final part in the on-going saga of determining whether Jack Kerouac has an FBI file. As you can see by the letter above in response to my FOIPA request, the FBI was "unable to identify responsive main file records." Of course, one must put this in the context of the previous sentence: "We were not able to search all of the manual indices because the Boston and New York indices have been transferred to Headquarters and are not yet searchable."

What does it all mean? Jack Kerouac may have an FBI file and he may not.

One thing is for sure: if he does, I do not have a copy of it.

So much for clear, black-and-white answers to things.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great interview with a Burroughs/Ginsberg contemporary

This is a killer interview with a guy who lives in Chaing-Mai (Thailand - it's a rough life but somebody has to do it) and used to trip with Burroughs and Ginsberg. This is stuff you won't read anywhere else, so it's must reading for beat aficionados. Is it true? Who knows? Is it plausible and entertaining? Check.

A quote from the article about Burroughs:
Burroughs spoke like an Oxford professor. It was only in his writing that he sounded so fucked. The stuff he spoke about was whacked out, but he spoke like a professor.
And one about Hunter S. Thompson:
He was a fun guy to know about and to observe but not to hang out with. He was way too intense. He shot a shark.

Howl film premieres tomorrow

The long-awaited Ginsberg biopic, Howl, opens tomorrow on opening night of the Sundance film festival. Click here to read an article from the Guardian about it. I blogged about this biopic back on November 10, 2009.

I absolutely cannot wait to see it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

NY Times review of Helen Weaver's The Awakener

Helen Weaver's The Awakener, reviewed here on November 11, was just reviewed by the New York Times and it's a (deservedly) stellar review!

Congratulations, Helen.

Read the review here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Before Hippies There Were Beatniks?

This ill-informed article from the Tuscon Citizen - Before Hippies There Were Beatniks - won't fool regular readers of The Daily Beat, but casual visitors might stumble upon it and not realize that the article is way off base: it neglects to point out that the term "beatnik" was a perjorative term, coined by Herb Caen in the San Francisco Chronicle. The suffix -nik was an intentional reference to Russia (not so popular in the U.S. at the time - it was six months after Sputnik) to cast the beat generation writers as un-American.

Allen Ginsberg wrote to the New York Times to deplore "the foul word beatnik," commenting, "If beatniks and not illuminated Beat poets overrun this country, they will have been created not by Kerouac but by industries of mass communication which continue to brainwash man" (Source: Wikipedia).

Click here to read my lengthier treatise on the term from December 23, 2008.

Happy reading.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winner of the Facebook 10,000 visitors book

Michael Gunin, of Russia, was the first to send me a friend request on Facebook, so he wins a free copy of The Beat Handbook.

Michael, thanks for being a faithful reader of The Daily Beat! I'll send your book along as soon as you send me your snail mail address. Use thebeathandbook@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.

I hope my book furthers your beat aspirations! Dig the ride!

10,000 visits by Jack Kerouac fans

The Daily Beat has now had over 10,000* visitors, and I'm going to assume each visit was by a Jack Kerouac fan somewhere on the planet. Or maybe even off-planet: I wouldn't rule out extra-terrestrials as being beat fans, and they're certainly surfing our Internet (lame as it is compared to their advanced technologies - ouch! - okay, I can't say any more because of the implants).

But I digress. In honor of reaching 10,000 visitors, we will be giving away a free copy of The Beat Handbook to the first reader of this blog (who hasn't already won a copy in a past contest) who sends me a friend request on Facebook. In your Facebook friend request, mention that you are asking to be my friend in order to win a copy of my book. You can find me on Facebook as Rick Dale. I'll announce the winner here as soon as we have one.

Let the games begin!



*The number 10,000 is significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the band 10,000 Maniacs, featuring Natalie Merchant, one of my all-time favorite singers and whose album, House Carpenter's Daughter, is a beat classic that deserves much wider recognition.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to write like Jack Kerouac Part 2

On November 16, 2008, I posted a blog entry titled, "How to write like Jack Kerouac." Click here to read that particular post.

Jack himself gave writing advice. Click here for a document that contains writing advice written by Jack in his own inimitable style.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Alanis Morissette and Jack Kerouac

According to this story on chartattack.com, Alanis Morissette has a book coming out that was inspired by Jack Kerouac. Here's a quote from the article:

"There's a book I have here that's like a Jack Kerouac reader with all these different writings of his, from prose essays to little prayers," she told the website. "It's one of my favourite books, so I bow down to that form of book."

Gee . . . a hippie songstress with a recurring role on the TV show Weeds is writing a book influenced by Kerouac? Who'da thunk it?

You go, Alanis. Maybe your book will inspire people to buy Jack Kerouac-style readers (like The Beat Handbook)!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jack Kerouac's FBI Files Part 3



Here is Part 3 in the on-going saga regarding my attempts to determine if Jack Kerouac has an FBI file (and get copies if one exists) under the Freedom of Information Act. As you can see by the above letter, my request to the San Francisco field office (contacting multiple field offices was recommended at the website Get Grandpa's FBI File) was forwarded to FBI Headquarters, which I had also contacted directly. The FBI has now assigned the same FOIPA number to all three of my requests. As I posited on December 16, perhaps one letter to FBI Headquarters is sufficient in such matters.

Writers write

Jack Kerouac was a writer. How do I know that? He wrote. Writers write. So, if you consider yourself a writer, you must write. Pretty simple, huh?

To wit, I wrote the below letter to the editor that was published on p. A7 in today's Kennebec Journal. Now back to writing my novel . . . .


Monday, January 4, 2010

Approaching 10,000 visitors!

As I write this there have been 9,865 visitors to The Daily Beat since October 2008. We're approaching the 10,000th visitor to my blog! I wish I could tell who it is when it happens - I'd send them a free book.

When 10,000 happens, I'll make sure to blog about it. A real milestone!

Customer reviews on Amazon

This is a reminder to readers that customer reviews on Amazon are very important in attracting additional customers. So far, my average rating on Amazon is very high - 5 stars - but I only have 8 reviews (out of 48 books sold). So, if you are someone who has my book and has not yet written a customer review on Amazon, I'd dearly appreciate your taking a couple of minutes to do it (and of course I'd prefer a 5-star rating to go with the review).

Same goes for Charlie's book, Life Lines: if you own it, please consider reviewing it on Amazon. I don't know what to do to get his sales happening. I guess poetry just isn't where it's at these days, which is sad because he is really an excellent poet and deserves a wider audience.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jack Kerouac, Walt Whitman, and Levi's

Perhaps you're familiar with the excellent PBS series, Connections, narrated by James Burke. It's a unique look at history by making unusual connections between events and people. I am always fascinated by connections - I think most people are - and today in SouthCoastToday.com is an article that connects Levi's jeans, Walt Whitman, and Jack Kerouac. You can read the article here.

Now, go read some Whitman. He was a big influence on Kerouac, you know.

Friday, January 1, 2010

First edition of Kerouac's On The Road: STOLEN!

See this story on The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett. What would ol' Jack think of someone stealing a first edition of On The Road?

As an aside, On The Road is on Modern Library's "100 Best Novels" list, both The Board's List and The Readers List (see Modern Library 100 Best Novels). The only other beat writer represented is Burroughs (Naked Lunch is on The Reader's List).