World’s Most Photographed Man Tells All

 

Greetings, Tourists!

After three years, it is time to formally introduce myself.-brooklyn-bridge

You know me already, of course — or parts of me. The visor of my BKYN baseball cap, say. Or my slightly slumped right shoulder. Or my cool Impulse! t-shirt that I sometimes wear on Fridays, featuring the logo of a defunct jazz record label. Or maybe my brown leather backpack.

My name is Thom — pronounced Tom (so you don’t have to say the ‘h,’ okay, people from France?) — and I’m the big, beefy guy who photo-bombed you on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The first thing I want to say is, I didn’t do it on purpose.

I’m not like that smug, bald-headed jogger with a nerdy glasses strap holding his hard-shell frames in place who runs the Bridge on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve seen him actually turn around, mid-jog, and give a grinning thumbs up to ruin — or make, depending on your view of photo-bombing — someone’s picture.

I do not do that. Ever.

Well, that’s not totally true. One evening there was huge, slow-moving group wearing hideous, bright yellow ROAD SCHOLAR hats who took up the entire pedestrian side of the walkway, reducing foot traffic to a crawl and forcing anyone who wanted to pass into the Bridge’s terrifying bike lane, or as I like to call it, EMT Boulevard.

With the Road Scholars, I lingered, waiting for them to get to the Manhattan-side tower, where, predictably, they massed and posed — with me! Yes, I was there on the fringe, grinning like a maniac.

Then there was the happy-looking Asian couple wearing matching I ♥ New York t-shirts. I saw the selfie-stick go up, their bodies shifting into position. She giggled and turned her pretty face to meet his smitten smile. What a great moment. I sped up, I admit it! They smooched and I was there behind them. Winking.

And once, a girl, a teen, wearing a “STOP WAITING FOR FRIDAY” t-shirt took a selfie and I accelerated so that I was right beside her — I could see myself in her camera screen — when she clicked. I almost asked her to text me a copy.

But that’s it, I swear.

  • Just walk and be natural.
  • Never slow or speed up just to be in a photo.
  • Stay in touch with my core while walking, per my Alexander instructor.

Sticking to these principles — with exception of the incidents above — means I’ve bombed your photos because you love the bridge, the sights, your family and friends, your phones and cameras and, yes, your selves and your selfie-sticks. And because I walk across the span twice a day.

So I like to think of my appearance in your photos as kismet.

Either that, or the bridge is just too fucking crowded.

I figure I appear in a picture every thirty feet during my walk across the bridge. Since the bridge is 5,989 feet long, give or take a few inches, that means I’m in 200 pictures during each crossing. And since I walk the bridge twice a day, I’m averaging 400 photos a day.

You’re thinking, come on, Thom-pronounced-Tom! Nobody is taking pictures at the beginning of the walkway on the Manhattan side! Plus, the entire Brooklyn side has a LOT less foot traffic than the Manhattan side — because many tourists just walk to the first bridge tower and double back.

So, yes, there are dead zones where you can walk 100 feet and not bomb a single photo. But my numbers are solid. Trust me. I get paid a ridiculous amount of money to “do” web analytics for a startup.

Here’s why:

When people take pictures, they take more than just one, they take, like, five, or at least the camera on my phone does. There is also a wisdom-of-crowds factor to consider. If one person poses, other tourists start to pose, too, because the spot has now been deemed photo-worthy. And that ensuing photo-onslaught — with multiple shots being taken in a matter of seconds, means I appear in TWICE as many photos, which gets me up to 800 pictures a day. Or as I like to think of it, supermodel numbers!

Sometimes tourists ask me to take their picture, which is the opposite of photo-bombing. But it’s the least I can do, what with me being in all your pictures. One evening a very blonde young woman with a Polish accent and an angular face asked me to take her picture.

I pointed her camera at her, trying to frame her unsymmetrical face against the backdrop of the bridge, that most symmetrical of structures, and lower Manhattan skyline behind her, and, just before snapping the picture, I said, “jak się masz?”

But my brilliant Polish query — “how are you?” — was met, not with a smile, but with this:

“In Poland we just say ‘cheese.’”

Then she smiled and I took her picture. Touché, Polish woman! I wished her a nice visit and walked on.

Now that you know who I am, I hope you’ll leave me in your photos instead of cropping me out. If you were thinking of deleting the photo because my elbow or sweaty forehead is in the frame, I urge you to keep it, because that picture captures the precise moment you crossed paths with the most photographed man in New York.

That’s a picture worth keeping and even sharing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Not to mention, Google Plus, Weibo, Renren, Orkut, Skyrock, Mixi, Cyworld, Ibibo, and other social media.

Anyway, so nice to finally meet you!

Say “Cheese!”

Thom.

Donald Trump’s Fables

The Snake and the Rat
A blind snake and a blind rat ran into each other. Neither animal was sure of its own identity.
“How about you examine me, and I’ll examine you? And then we’ll figure out who we are,” said the snake.
So the rat felt the snake. He said, “Well, you are cold and slimy and you hiss a lot. And you have a strange round metallic thing sticking into your skin.”
“That’s a “Trump for President” button.”
“Oh!” said the rat, “I have one of those, too! Here, feel me.”
So the snake felt the rat, and said: “You have tiny feet and whiskers and very sharp teeth that would probably grow straight through your brain if you didn’t gnaw on wood and metal all the time.”
“I know what you are!” said the rat.
“I know what you are, too!” said the snake.
Then in unison they cried: “YOU’RE A RACIST PIECE OF SHIT!”

Moral: Despite our vast differences, Trump unites.

The Sagely Driving Instructor
Once there was a Florida driving instructor with severe ADHD. His condition was so severe that when he had to teach the 5-hour long driver safety class, he couldn’t do it.
15 minutes into the course, he threw up his hands and said, “I can’t take this anymore! Let me ask you guys one simple question. This will be our whole lesson, and then I’ll sign all your sheets, okay?”
The students all nodded in agreement.
“Okay: It is safer to drive faster or slower?”
One by one, the students each said, “slower.”
When the last student was finished, the sagely instructor said, “Morons! You are all TOTALLY wrong!”
The class laughed nervously.
“Let me explain this in terms of basic logic, okay? It’s going to so simple, even my ex-wives could understand it. True or false: the slower you go, the longer you are on the road?”
“True,” said the class.
“True or false: the longer you are on the road — the more you drive — the greater the chance of an accident.”
“True,” said the class.
“So,” continued the instructor with pompous, arrogant certainty, “It follows that going faster is actually safer because you will be on the road for less time, therefore reducing the likelihood you will have an accident!”
Then he led the class in a raucous chant of “FASTER IS SAFER!” while signing attendance forms and high-fiving his students, some of whom eventually died in head-on collisions.

Moral: Being a reckless asshole is totally okay as long as you are sure of yourself.

The Candidate & the Advisors
The presidential candidate realized he needed a big vision to win the election. Something that would knock the socks off of voters and make America the greatest ever — and shut up the truth-loving, limp-wristed, book-reading losers in the media.
So he called in his advisors. “We need something really great. I mean, so great that it will be the greatest. I want proposals tomorrow first thing.”
The next morning the candidate listened to the ideas.
“Build a wall around all our airports,” said one advisor.
“We’ve already floated a wall,” said the candidate. “So lame. Are you working for the other team?”
“Launch a reality show on C-SPAN about accountants spotting the biggest loopholes,” said a fat advisor from New Jersey.
“Great for C-Span, not for me.”
“Make American automobile purchases completely tax deductible!” said a third idea man.
“Not bad. But since I don’t pay taxes, someone has to. Any more ideas?”
The room filled with the embarrassed silence of failure.
“Listen,” said the candidate, “the Chinese just launched another satellite. Those little laundry wizards are beating us in outer space. We used to own space, so that’s not great. In fact, it is really ungreat. So I thought of something huge.”
“What is it, boss?” said all the advisors, eager to hear their leader’s visionary idea.
“We are going to start a NASA program to go to sun! If we can harness its power, we solve all the world’s problems. Is that great, or what?”
“Awesome,” said the fat advisor. “But how can we land there without burning up?”
“Easy,” said the candidate, stunning his advisors with his brilliance. “We’re gonna go at night!”

Moral: Think small, be small. But think huge, and maybe people won’t notice you’re a total idiot.

The Dance Moves of Clarence Thomas: An Oral History

Clarence Thomas

“Acting like he was bending over and picking up a handkerchief off the ground was his signature dance move.”  — Retired federal prosecutor Lillian McEwen discussing former beau and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. NY Post, April 17, 2016

“Signature dance move? Clarence Thomas? You know it was an all-boys Catholic high school, right? Maybe leaning back in his chair? — Dennis McFarland, classmate, St. John Vianney Minor Seminary, Savannah

“I remember Clarence in 1970. That was the year the Jackson Five were rockin’ the charts with “ABC” and “The Love You Save,” and Freda Payne had “Band of Gold.” We’d be taking turns spinning records, which is what people used to do before YouTube, and Clarence would put on ‘Spirit in the Sky’ by Norman Greenbaum and sing, “I’ve got a friend in Jesus,” in a lame-ass falsetto. That was what you call a signature bad move. — Aaron Brice, classmate, Holy Cross ‘71

“It’s hard to imagine now, because he has less personality than a rock during SCOTUS hearings, but Clarence liked to boogie. When a woman accepted his invitation to dance. Clarence would nod and smile and move his head from side to side as he led the woman to the dance floor. It was like a mix of the Funky Chicken and a bobble-head doll. He called it his ‘Affirmative Reaction.’ That’s the move I recall.” — Daniel Bixby, classmate, Yale Law School, ‘74

“I remember Clarence being more into line dancing than developing a signature move. One night, ‘Night Fever’ came on while Clarence was at the bar, and in his rush to get on the floor, he knocked the drink out of the hands of this little dude we used to call Martini. He didn’t even say sorry. He arrived right in the flow to do the Travolta move where you extend you arm like you’re hailing a cab.” — Roger Davis, ADA, St. Louis, Missouri

“I think I would have remembered a signature move like the one you are describing, because it sounds ridiculous. The only time you bent over on the dance floor was to do the bump or because you dropped your coke spoon.” — Alison Cruz, colleague Monsato Corporation

“There was this party, and he tried to teach everyone a line dance he invented. It was like The Hustle, except that instead of clapping at the end of the — we called it the ‘rolling grapevine,’ where you turn in a circle — at the end of that, he wanted dancers to smack the butt of the person next to you. He thought it was going to be huge. I think he wanted to call it Citizens United. But nobody really dug it.” — Geena Rose, colleague, Monsato Corporation

“I ran into Clarence and he told me he had a new line dance. I was, like, ‘Not that ass-slapping thing. That was lame.’ And he says, ‘No, this is way better. It’s a line dance of “Pick a Bale of Cotton.”’ I’m like, “The racist song? Are you kidding me?’ He could tell I wasn’t digging that at all. And he said, ‘Nah, I’m just playing with you.’” — Alison Cruz, colleague, Monsato Corporation

“For a while he always wanted to do The Bump. He was crazy for it. The Hustle would come on and he’s like ‘Let’s bump.’ And I’m like, ‘No, Clarence! Stop it now!”’ —Nadine Wilson, EEOC security guard

“Now you got me thinking. One night Clarence asked the DJ play “Pick Up the Pieces” by the Average White Band and he hit the floor and started doing this weird dance. He would jump, then turn around in a spin, and put both hands to the ground almost like he was picking something up and sort of toss his hands to the side as he straightened up. Then he jumped the other way, and did it again. He called it ‘The Pick Up.’” — Geena Rose, colleague, The Monsato Company

“One year he made a cassette tape for the office Christmas party. It was all Bee Gees. Not just Saturday Night Fever stuff. He was really into ‘Jive Talkin’.’ It was the first song on the tape, in the middle and at the end. He would do this ridiculous jumping and twirling dance, The Pick Up. He told me it was his signature dance move. When I heard he was against affirmative action, I thought, man, no wonder ‘Jive Talkin’ was his signature tune.” — Nadine Wilson, EEOC security guard

“He was always talking about KC & the Sunshine Band and the Bee Gees. And I’m like, ‘Yo man, those dudes are co-opting the funk. White dudes stole rock n’ roll, and now they’re stealing disco!’ I thought, if this guy is going is going to be a strict constructionist, discologically speaking, then he should be preaching Barry White, The O’Jays, The Trammps, Disco Tex and The Sex-o-letts. But instead it was KC-this and Barry Gibb-that. I knew he was trouble back then. And that stupid dance move of his — somebody told me it was based on ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton,’ but that’s just got to be a liberal plot to show how out of touch he is, right? You know his problem? It’s like Cheryl Lynn sings: ‘Got to be real!’ Nobody was buying what he was selling.” — Martin “Martini” Milton, disco acquaintance

“My friend Rodney told me he saw Clarence at Plato’s Retreat. For real! He was with this lady, and they were just chilling in the front, having a drink. You could call him. I’ll give you his number.” — Harold “Harvey Wallbanger” Smith, disco acquaintance

“Hell yeah, I remember. Dude introduced himself and this lady friend. My girl was not at all interested in getting with them, no way. Especially after the dude went on the dance floor and did this spin move, bent down, touched the ground and then reversed it. My girl just started laughing. I told her they were from D.C., and she said, ‘That explains it.’” — Rodney (Last name withheld by request)

Dear Ask a Deadhead #4 (Hillary or Bernie?)

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Dear Ask a Deadhead,

Hillary or Bernie? — Mandy, Sugarbush, Vt

Mandy, you are not the first to ask me this question, but judging from your Facebook photos, you are the cutest. The thing about this question is, are you asking my advice? Or which candidate I’d vote for? Or whom I think is going to win?

A lot of Deadheads have short attention spans, but dudes and dudettes, finish the sentence.

Here’s my thinking: if the call comes at 3 a.m., I’m 100% confident Bernie will say, LEGALIZE IT! Hillary? I’m not sure.

That said, a certain greatest band in the history of the world covers a very excellent song by the famous calypsonian, King Radio, called “Man Smart (Women Smarter),” and I am a strong proponent of this song’s message.

It’s so obvious. My ex-wife Nancy, for instance, is way smarter than me. I’m not even married to her anymore, and yet I’m still giving her 2 grand every month, which is so unhigh, but also shows how smart she is.

There are all kinds of other reasons women are superior to men. Their clothes are more complicated. Their hair is more complicated. I ride a bicycle. They are on a lunar cycle. They read self-help books. We don’t read. The list is endless.

So, in this regard, I’m 100% for Hillary,

Which means I’m 1000% conflicted. I like ‘em both. So what does your friendly estimated prophet do?

I voted for one and  donated some money to the other. My conscious is clear.


Dear Ask a Deadhead,

I am experiencing tremendous anxiety about experiencing tremendous anxiety. It hasn’t happened yet, and yet it is happening. I just read this over, and now I’m worrying that you will think that this is a fake question that is really an exercise in circular logic. But it isn’t, I swear. I’m not even sure what circular logic is. Do you have any advice for me? — Lenny, Silver Springs, Maryland

Lenny, it’s all gonna be okay. Follow these steps:

  1. Put on some good tunes
  2. Google these words: “Mental health emergency Silver Springs”
  3. Call some of websites that come up
  4. Read them the letter you just wrote to me
  5. Follow their instructions
  6. Write me again soon, brother

 

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

The Stones, Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart and Queen all wrote kick ass disco songs. How come “Shakedown Street” doesn’t get any radio play, like “Miss You: and “Brick in the Wall?” —Shadow, Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine

Shadow! Great to hear from you again!

This is an excellent question. It is also a painful question, because the answer hurts. “Shakedown” is a solid disco song. It has the beat. It has some funky minor seventh and ninth  guitar chords. It has some snazzy arranging.

What it doesn’t have is a vocal edge that gets it over. It’s a fact: great disco songs have great vocals. Captain Trips, was the greatest scale-runner in history, but he was way too laid back in the vocal department on this tune for it to be a hit. He was no match for Mick’s snarls or Rod’s rasp, never mind Donna Summer’s moans. I think producer Lowell George should have pushed Jerry harder and maybe brought in some backup muscle. But it’s too late now. The real point is it was never a big radio song when it came out, so it’s not getting on the radio now. Unless you take your trust fund and buy a radio station, dude.

Apple’s Shocking New Device? Meet the iCross

IcrossA groundbreaking tech product dubbed the iCross is under development, according to a stunning, recently discovered “confidential” memo.

The top secret letter — addressed to a man named Tim from a man named Phil — details research on “the SmartCross Project,” which is dedicated to determining the “product-market fit of the iCross,” a crucifix-like object with an embedded interactive digital screen.

According to the memo,  79% of survey respondents thought the iCross had “very, strong gift potential.”

Researchers also found there was “zero rival activity in the SmartCross space,” and that the markup on necklace chains was “staggering and could lift stock valuation into the heavens.”

The stunning memo also details plans for the launch of two device-specific apps and websites called con.fess.ly and pray.ly, which will send users weekly reminders to go to church.

The memo, which contained a photo of an iCross prototype, does raise a few notes of caution.

“A significant number (42%) of respondents were not comfortable with the voice emanating from the iCross,” notes Phil, adding that comments included: “WTF!” “Jesus Christ!” and “Siriously?”

“The company may want to rethink her role in the device,” says Phil in the memo.

Ten percent of the respondents found the embedded screens tacky and sacrilegious. Phil downplayed this finding,  however, calling them “outliers, right?”

User testing found there was concern over whether the iCross is a devotional or general usage device. While many self-described “religious” respondents expressed joy at the prospect of using their iCross to download sermons, text with bible study buddies, watch The Greatest Story Ever Told and Left Behind, and even listen to Christian rock by Stryper, half of those users voiced concern about how the average user would interact with the iCross.

One respondent asked: “Are people going to violate this symbol of God’s love and sacrifice by watching South Park and reading Paul Krugman on this device?”

The memo sent shock waves through the tech world.

“This raises the bar in the under-served digital religious space, which has been painfully ignored in the onslaught of totally over-hyped Internet of Things products,” said tech industry analyst T. Danforth Gupta. “I’m sure we’ll see a flood of tremendously capitalized SmartCross knockoffs and spinoffs, such as the iChai and iOm.”

The memo — which was found in an envelope balanced on the hand dryer in the men’s restroom of a Cupertino, CA bar — goes on to say the company is “exploring launch events at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.”

And then author signs off:  “Fingers iCrossed, Phil.”

Dear Ask a Deadhead (A Trump Question) #3

Dear Ask a Dead,

My daughter, who I’m proud to say is a second-generation tie-dyer, has a boy friend I’m going to call “Really Stupid.” He was over for dinner — or “wasting oxygen,” as my husband likes to say — and announced that he and my daughter had been to a Trump rally. I was disgusted. Not that I’m political, but Trump’s bully vibe and comments about women and immigrants aren’t in line with a rainbow-loving gal like me. Anyway, Really Stupid says he’s going to vote for Trump and he expects my daughter to do the same. When I started to list my problems with Trump, they started to sing the chorus of “Friend of the Devil” at me! You know: “A friend of the devil is a friend of mine.” I had to excuse myself and throw up. Any advice on swaying her? — Debbi, Newton, Mass.

Say what you want about Clinton, Obama, JFK, Reagan, Bush – but they all looked good in power blue suits. Can you imagine Cruz or Trump on a stamp? Would you lick that thing?

The argument, however, about not looking presidential doesn’t really work with Trump, since he looks like a clown school escapee but still leads in the polls.  So you need a strong moral point that strikes your daughter to the core.

Luckily, I have one. Here:

Once there was a man from the magical-sounding land of La Corñuna, Spain, which obviously is in Spain, not in America. And that means this gentle soul — who loved music and was named Jose Ramon Garcia — was not American. But he came to this country and was welcomed here. He met a girl with Irish and Swedish DNA coursing through her veins. And together they had a SON named Jerome, who grew into THE man among men known to all as JERRY GARCIA.

Think about this bad trip: If Trump or Cruz or Rubio had been president in 1919 with their immigrant-hating vibes, life as we know it wouldn’t be life as we know it. Jose Ramon might have stayed in wherever he was. And that means… well a whole chain of events leading to THIS VERY COLUMN AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME would never have happened.

I know. Take a minute to chill. Go ahead. Vape.

And that’s why the Nation must avoid Trump — and Cruz and Rubio — like the plague. They could be keeping out the next musical deity. Or the father of the next musical deity. And that would be the mother of all bummers.

Once your daughter hears this story, she’ll realize the error of her ways with Trump and maybe even Really Stupid. Good luck.

 

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

Who is Drake? What is “Hotline Bling?” And Why? — Toby, Bongville, South Stonerlinia

As longtime readers know, Dear Ask a Dead views himself as humble servant on a mission to help the greatest Nation within the greatest nation. I’m proud many of our citizens don’t know what twerking is, use cellphones with no screens, and still listen to TDK 120 minute jams. I know you, riders! Your priorities are beautiful! And Toby from Bongville — great to hear from you again — you are not alone in your confusion.

In fact, when I got the first Drake question a few months ago, I was, like, who?

Then I was like, what?

And then, I thought, this is the unhighest moment in the history of the column. How can I explain something I don’t understand?

But then I sucked it up and got online and I also talked to my sister’s 15 year-old. So I actually know the answer to this question now.

In the world outside of Bongville, Drake is a hugely popular Canadian singer/rapper who dances like a nerd, abuses auto tune and has obviously never heard “China Cat/I Know You Rider” in his life. His key talent seems to be being handsome.

“Hotline Bling” is self-pitying song in which Drake whines the whole time about a girl who doesn’t call him anymore. And can you blame her? In the video, which people seem to love for some reason, the guy’s moves are beyond LAME.

And Ask a Deadhead should know. He has seen decades of hippie dancing.

As for why? I’m gonna have to vape on that.

 

SPECS FOR MY NEW “KIMBRACEABLE©®™” APP

Hey Bestie!

The season of giving and sharing may be over. But here in L.A., the season for over sharing never ends, Am I right?

So I wanted to show you my new micro-personalized app that is going to be free and mega:  “KIMBRACEABLE”©®™”

My mom suggested it. And even though she’s a total nightmare sometimes, it’s actually a good idea. It’s perfect for my fans’ obsession with me and my obsession with my fans’ obsession with me, and my mom’s obsession with my fans’ obsession with me.

This app design guy came over — Justin or Jason or maybe Tom, I can’t remember his name, but he was wearing Lee jeans (LMAO!) — and explained how I should write a “spec” for the app. So here’s my first draft. Let me know… K?

Where is Kim?  <Display my location>

How far am I from Kim?  <Display answer in miles / feet / inches>

How long will it take to get to Kim?  <Calculate and display by car/ on foot/ crawling on hands and knees>

Play me Kim’s favorite song ever of all time for today:  <We’ll sell this spot to Universal Music or Spotify>

Show me Kim’s booty through history:  <Porno Era/ Pre-Baby #1/ Post-#1 but Pre-#2/ Post #2>

The most incredible product ever made right now:  <Display stuff I get paid to promote>

Reality show Kim hates most today:  <All of them, except our show, of course. Randomize>

Which sister is pissing Kim off right now?  <Just put all four and randomize>

Why she’s pissing Kim off?  <Just randomize: So rude!, Needs New Man!, Ungrateful!, Such a hideous selfie!, What a bitch!, Forgets her place!, So selfish! No manners! She can do so much better!>

My fantasy besties randomizer:  <Photoshop selfies of me with: Imelda Marcos, Marie Antoinette, Marilyn, Madonna, Liz Taylor, Leona Helmsley, Evita>

Kim’s favorite charity:  <Link to: the U.S. Cosmetology Foundation for More Foundation for the Needy>

Kim’s krucial kosmetics:  <Monthly, whatever that bitch my mom brokers>

Fool foto of the day:  <Scumbag 1 or Scumbag 2 or Scumbag 3 or my brother>

Assercise Tip of the Day:  <Get it from my trainer>

Inspirational O.J. quotes about my Dad:  <Lets ask O.J.; it will give him something to do while he’s in prison >

Share with Kim! Take my monthly questionnaire. Don’t worry; it’s multiple choice —so you can guess!: <Display list of questions>

Dear Ask a Deadhead #2

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

My boyfriend says tie-dye makes me look fat. But then he also likes Neil more than Jerry. Is tie-dye figure-flattering or not? And should I dump this guy? —Daisy, Madison, Wis

Whoa, whoa, whoa! I like Neil, but your BF needs to get his hearing checked. Seriously, Neil has written some good stuff, especially that song about a horse with no name. But there’s no competition there. Heart of Gold vs. Friend of the Devil? Cinnamon Girl vs. Cold Rain and Snow? It’s not even close. But listen, nobody has perfect musical taste — except for one Man, and he left the planet on August 9, 1995 — so I’m not gonna totally rip your boyfriend for the Neil thing.

But tie-dye? That’s the magical fabric! It’s like the Dead’s equivalent of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat, and that cloth was so badass, it like did miracles and shit! But you’ve been to shows, right? You’ve seen arenas full of beautiful women  doing  snake-arm hippie dancing while sheathed in explosions of blurred out, blissed-out mandala patterns jetted over the astral plane from Lhasa and imprinted on 100% cotton! Tie-dye is a visual aphrodisiac, man. Everybody knows that! I’ll bet you look smokin’!

Dump him. Go out with his best friend.

***

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

Why did the Dead only play the song “Blues for Allah” live five times after they recorded the album of the same name? — Stevie, Austin, Tx

Stevie, that is a most awesome wonder you pose. Totally! I get this question every month. What IS THE DEAL WITH BFA? And I have been searching high and unhigh for the answer. Like, relentlessly. Sometimes I feel like those reporters Bob Woodward and Ingmar Bergman. You know, less like an advice columnist and more like a real newshound. But now all my hard journalistical work has paid off, dudes!

Here’s what I found out.

First, Jerry, in addition to being the greatest being to ever touch a fret board — like, ten or even twenty times better than Trey or Warren — was a creature of immensely superior foresight. For instance, he was seriously concerned about the ocean and coral and the environment waaay back in the 60s.

Plus, tie-dye.

Plus, lysergic acid diethylamide.

The man had foresight. Am I right?

I’m sure you are like, dude, what does this have to do with “Blues for Allah?”

Well, chill out. My point is that it turns out, Jerry also totally foresaw some of this whole Bin Laden terrorism thing that’s been going on.

Seriously.

When I was quietly making covert inquiries into the mystery of “Blues,” I heard a rumor about a taper from Spokane who knew another taper from Cleveland who knew the whole story.

It took me an epic series of emails and phone calls to track down this dude in Shaker Heights, Ohio, who I’ll call Shimmy because that’s his name.

Shimmy met a roadie who was on the entire ’79 tour and asked Jerry this exact question. He was like, “Dude, why don’t you ever play BFA, man?”

And Jerry said that one night, about three weeks after the album came out, he was relaxing and he got the munchies and cooked up an omelet with primo peyote buttons.

Like, an hour or three later — Jerry wasn’t sure — a huge, hairy dude in white pajamas with a giant cutlass broke into his crib! The guy had his turban in a twist and was ranting about fatwas, which sounds a bit like Mexican food but is really an Arabic word for, like, a religious finding that can some times be a death sentence. The dude also said that some old school Allah fans did not dig the tribute, and “would fucking waste everyone if they ever played it live.”

Shimmy the taper swore to me on an SACD of Winterland, June 9, ’77 that this was totally solid information, from Jerry’s lips to the roadie’s ears to Shimmy’s ears about 15 years later. So that sounds pretty rock sold to me.

I know this story is sort of ironic, since Bobby Hunter’s BFA lyrics say spilling blood will not grow a thing. But it sounds exactly right, too: by not playing “Blues for Allah,” Jerry was silently ensuring the safety of the whole scene, which is just so typical of the Master.

Anyway, that’s the real story. If you want to nominate me for a Pulitzer Prize, go head.

The Vegas Line on the Upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie

Before Opening Day:

Odds your girlfriend or wife wants to see the film opening weekend: 6-1

Odds your boyfriend or husband wants to see it opening weekend: 7-5

Odds the screening you want to see will be sold out: 4-1

Odds the IT department at work will be short-staffed on opening day: No Bets Accepted

Odds Jennifer Garner will be taking the kids to see their Batman dad on the big screen opening weekend: 100-1

Over/Under: The number of times before opening day the fan boys at work will ask if you are “pumped” “stoked,” “psyched” or “excited” to see the new movie: 3.5

Over/Under: Number of times you respond, “Not really, Superman would kick Batman’s ass in a fair fight.”: 2.5

Odds critic Peter Travers will give it one of his BIGGEST BLURB OF THE YEAR!-type blurbs: No bets accepted

 

About the Movie

Odds the battle happens in Gotham: 10-1

Odds the battle happens in Metropolis: 2-1

Odds Batman puts the moves on Lois Lane: 20-1

Odds Superman hooks up with Catwoman: 1000-1

Odds Superwoman shows up and disses both heroes for macho ego-boosting behavior: 3-1

Odds someone at The Daily Planet mentions posting a podcast to Clark Kent : 200-1

Odds Batman will have some super-tricked-out Iron Man-like fighting suit to battle Superman, because otherwise Superman is going to kick his ass: 5-4

Odds Batman will get a hold of some Kryptonite, because otherwise Superman is going to kick his ass: 5-3

Odds Lois knows a scientist who has an anti-Kyptonite vaccine to help Superman: 500-1

Odds that Batman discovers a new element that weakens Superman: 8-1

Odds that Alfred helps valet a suit made of Kryptonite for Batman: 2-1

Odds watching Jesse Eisenberg you will think about Heath Ledger: No Bets Accepted

Over/Under: Number of times the word “bat” will be appended to an object (not including Batman), such as batcave, batmobile or batdrone: 4.5

Odds Superman and Batman fight and destroy lots of stuff by the end of the second act, but a new terrifying threat or arch enemy surfaces and the two rivals join forces for the 3rd act: No bets accepted

 

After the movie

Odds upon leaving the theater you will hear someone mock-quote Burt Ward’s Robin and say “Holy high intensity action film, Batman” or something like that: 3-1

Odds a fan boy at work will spill a bunch of spoilers while loudly informing everyone that he saw the film on opening day: 5-3

Odds you will feel that the universal question you and every American over the age of five has grappled with — if Batman fought Superman, who would win? — still remains unanswered: No bets accepted

 

 

 

 

Dear Ask a Deadhead

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

I don’t want to sound uptight, but I’m an old school member of the Church of Jerry and my problem is this: I really love Bernie Saunders and all his platforms and ideas. But he is from Vermont, if you know what I mean. — Melissa, Oak Park, IL

Readers,  every day I get a number of questions just like this from our brothers and sisters. Let me read between the lines for you. What Melissa is saying is that she’s a traveler who is not a fan of Phish, which is a band from Vermont, and that she, like a lot of older Deadheads, dislikes Phish so much, she’s having a hard time voting for Bernie. Melissa is not alone. Trust me.

But let me answer your question, Melissa,  with another question: Can we, as a nation, condemn an entire state because it provided the launching pad for a quartet of short, Dead-influenced jammers with stupid song titles like “Meatstick,” “Icculus” and “Guyute”  and a pretty kicking light show? Are we really that petty? 

As tempting as it is to blame all of Vermont for this sonically derivative band with awesome chops and not great songs, I totally know in my heart that Jerry would never do that. And you totally know it, too. They’re  just playin’ in the band. So go ahead and Bern it up.  And lose the hate while you are at it.

***

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

There’s a refugee crisis going on. I feel like I should be doing something to help. Any ideas on how to address this calamity? — Mike, Syosset, N.Y.

It is so awful what is going on in those refugee places, man. I totally hear you. But just yesterday I had a vision. Not like a glorious blue-dot or psilocybin mandala-in-your-mind vision, but more like a regular old-fashioned “plan” or “idea.” Those refugees have endless hours with nothing to do and nothing to sit on, right?  Dude, that’s like the PERFECT training conditions for hackin’ the sack! They could become total hacky sack monsters — and it’s one of the best ways to pass the time if you don’t have any anything, you know?. You should contact the Wham-O Corporation and get them to airlift some footbags over there pronto!

***

Dear Ask a Deadhead,

Settle an argument: My girlfriend says bringing pot brownies to a potluck is “really phony grad-school meta bullshit.” I say, “Whoa, what’s that about?” Who is right? — Weedless in Seattle

I totally sense trouble ahead and trouble behind. But you and your brownies would be most welcome at my potluck ANY time. And by that I mean, even when I’m not having a potluck. Most people I know — all of them, actually — would feel the same.