Saturday, August 21, 2010


It was always a fond and favorite scenario among us anarchists of the psychedelic left. Dump a mind-melting quantity of LSD-25 into the public water supply and, while the squares went tripped-out, terminal insane, we would establish an hallucinogenic youth oligarch and take over the city, the nation, and finally the planet. (Five to one, baby!) The idea would immediately be borrowed by low-budget Hollywood for the 1968 Barry Shear movie Wild In The Streets, but, even by the time that drive-in wonder came out we’d fondly dismissed it as a stoned absurdity. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that CIA had been working with total seriousness on the same concept since as early as 1953. (And, of course, there was always the popular theory that the entire Summer of Love and San Francisco in 1967 was an MKULTRA mind-control experiment that ran globally and quantum amok.)

“The psychedelic water saga arose at the height of the Cold War in 1953, when the intelligence agency approached Dr Nick Bercel, a Los Angeles psychiatrist working with LSD in a psychotherapeutic context. After querying him on the possible consequences if the Russians were to put LSD in the water supply of a large American city, the spooks demanded Bercel calculate how much LSD would be needed to dose Los Angeles’s water supply with acid. Bercel dissolved some LSD in a glass of chlorinated water, which promptly neutralised the psychedelic, leading him to tell the CIA the idea was not worth pursuing. The spooks were unconvinced, allegedly designing another version of LSD that was not neutralised by chlorine. Yet although the experiment had failed, the idea that LSD could be used to mass-dose the population had been created – and even though scientific opinion was against it, the notion was just too powerful to give up and started to take on a life of its own.” Click here for more.

Click here for Max Frost and the Troopers

The secret word is Psycho


Nobody told me, but last night, the planet Neptune was in perfect opposition, a straight line could be drawn from it right through the Sun and Earth. It was also at its closest to Earth, and was bright in the sky around midnight – although not in the well of atmospheric murk that is midsummer Los Angeles. Neptune is also nearing the end of its first orbit since its discovery. It has taken over 160 years for Neptune to orbit the sun just once, and the planet was actually discovered on the last occasion it came this close to Earth, back in 1846. (The opposition happened on August 20 of that year as well, but the planet wasn't discovered until a month later.) But don’t get too excited. Neptune's first full orbit since its discovery won't be completed until 2011.

Click here for Sandy Denny

Dickie Petersen – RIP


At regular intervals, as I amble through the hours, I hear Buddy Holly singing “Everyday”, and I feel happy because it conjures memories of long-gone inept delight, and being young and about as innocent as I would ever be. But then I cease to be happy because I realize that the song is coming from the TV. It’s the music to a goddamned Blackberry commercial that’s in heavy rotation. Just to make matters worse there’s a thrash style version of “Everyday” in another commercial, but I have yet to ascertain what it’s selling. To complain about the songs we fell in love to being used as TV commercials is hardly original, but in the case of Buddy Holly, it’s a little different. Buddy Holly is fucking dead. If Bob or Pete or Iggy or Brain Wilson want their songs used to hawk automobiles, lingerie, insurance, or a sea cruise, that’s their decision, and we can judge them accordingly. Buddy Holly has no such choice and no such protection from crass exploitation. But that’s not all. A long time ago, no less than Paul McCartney would claim to be providing that protection. Back in the 20th century, I went to a press conference in London, at which Fab Sir Paul announced he had purchased the entire Holly song catalogue, and although he freely admitted he would make a whole lotta change off the deal, he also pledged to protect the material from corporate exploitation such as it’s use in commercials. Seemingly this is no longer so. In this brave new world, such promises are na├»ve and easily forgotten. A shame really, because now I’m going to have to spend my old age pissing on McCartney’s grave.

Click here for Buddy


From Valerie

Friday, August 20, 2010


“But, mama, the saucer people always bring me back.”

Yesterday we had Elvis singing the word “motherfucker.” Today we have tales of Vernon Presley seeing UFOs attending Elvis’ birth. Oh man. Where do we go from here?

“Elvis Presley reportedly had a lifelong belief in extraterrestrials and witnessed a number of UFOs during his life. The 'King of Rock and Roll' is said to have had several sightings of UFOs during his life, with his interest sparked by an unusual sighting made by his father, Vernon, on the day he was born, January 8, 1935. The singer's hairstylist and friend, Larry Geller, explained: "His father told us he'd gone out to have a cigarette at 2am during the delivery and when he looked up into the skies above their little shack, he saw the strangest blue light. He knew right then and there that something special was happening." Renowned Elvis historian Cory Cooper, who's been researching the life and times of the rock 'n' roll icon for nearly 30 years, also verified the legend of the blue UFOs in Tupelo that night. He said he's personally heard that same story told multiple times by Geller and other insiders who were close to Elvis. Author Michael C. Luckman - who wrote a book, 'Alien Rock: The Rock 'N' Roll Extraterrestrial Connection', about musicians who have had contact with otherworldly beings - believes Elvis was later visited by aliens when he was a child.” (Click here for more)

And by way of a bonus our pals at Dangerous Minds have come up with a video montage to go with yesterday’s audio of “Stranger In My Own Hometown.” Click here.

The secret word is Royal


Goddamn BP are even buying TV time and running sanctimonious commercials that attempt to claim the worse of oil has gone and all is going to be well. It’s not, and they would seem to be lying in their teeth. But what does anyone expect? For close to a century much of the world has been run either by – or for the benefit of – the bloody oil barons, and, right now, despite all that’s happened, little is being done to change that.

“Scientists have mapped a 22-mile plume of oil droplets from BP's rogue well in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, providing the strongest evidence yet of the fate of the crude that spewed into the sea for months. The report offers the most authoritative challenge to date to White House assertions that most of the 5m barrels of oil that spewed into the Gulf is gone. "These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume," said Christopher Reddy one of the members of the team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The report, which is published in the journal Science, also said the plume was very slow to break down by natural forces, increasing the likelihood that oil could have travelled long distances in the Gulf before it was degraded. "Many people speculated that subsurface oil droplets were being easily degraded," said Richard Camilli, the lead author of the paper. "Well we didn't find that. We found it was still there." (Click here for the rest of the story)

Click here for Nat King Cole


Or maybe drive you crazy. Click here.


And what, we wonder, is taking place in the background?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Many years ago, I drove with Wayne Kramer from Detroit to St. Louis because Wayne was getting paid to do a guest spot on a Ted Nugent show. After meeting the man, I decided he was an asshole. Over the years, my only inclination to modify that first impression was down to Nugent proving himself an even bigger asshole than I had first imagined – in fact, an loud, obnoxious, reactionary, Bambi-killing asshole.

“Some of the biggest hunting rights advocates have had their brushes with the law when it comes to illegal wildlife killing. This week, law enforcement nabbed a big buck within the hunting rights field: Rocker Ted Nugent pled no contest in a California court to poaching activities -- baiting a deer and not having a properly signed hunting tag. If Nugent were just some rank-and-file loudmouth, the court proceedings wouldn't have stirred much attention. But Nugent is not only a long-serving board member of the NRA (15 years), he's a self-styled voice for hunters across America. We've always thought he's an embarrassment to the hunting lobby, providing an unceasing bilge of callous and crude beliefs and behaving in ways that are directly at odds with the self-portrait offered by hunters. Nugent says one thing and does another. He says that sport hunters are great conservationists, and then he goes on to defend the most unsporting, reckless, and irresponsible forms of hunting, such as canned hunts, bear baiting, or pigeon shoots.” Click here for more

Click here for Harry Callaghan

The secret word is Bully


You really have to get yourself over to our pals at The Hound Blog where they have a quite amazing song by Elvis Presley that I certainly haven’t heard before.

"Several weeks ago I wrote a posting on Percy Mayfield and put out a call to see if anyone out there had a line on Elvis' x-rated outtake version of Mayfield's masterpiece Stranger In My Own Hometown. Reader JohnnyQ responded with a link to said recording, and having downloaded it, in a fit of excitement sent out copies to several friends that I thought would enjoy hearing Elvis sing "motherfucker", "cocksucker" and "hard prick" in the same tune. Of the responses I got back, my favorite was from esteemed author and cultural commentator Nick Tosches, who wrote: "Jim: as somebody who always felt that Elvis killed rock'n'roll until it rose from the dead again in 1965, I must say that this raises the value of his stock considerably in my mind. In fact, aside from Heartbreak Hotel and one cut on Having Fun On Stage ("...when you look in the mirror and see you are bald", or whatever it is), this is the best Elvis I've ever heard". Click here for more and the vital audio link.


In a few days, Ray Bradbury will celebrate his 90th birthday. So do yourself a favor, click here for a most surprising tribute to the venerable godfather of science fiction. Beyond that I will not comment.


The project was terminated after Sam Frozdick and his partner Norman were beaten to death by their own malfunctioning robot.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The way that the medical profession avoided the therapeutic use of psychedelics because of what’s referred to below as “negative connotations” has always boggled my mind. Now they seem to be taking a second look at the matter, my only has to be “what took you so long?”

“LONDON - Mind-altering drugs like LSD, ketamine or magic mushrooms could be combined with psychotherapy to treat people suffering from depression, compulsive disorders or chronic pain, Swiss scientists suggested on Wednesday. Research into the effects of psychedelics, used in the past in psychiatry, has been restricted in recent decades because of the negative connotations of drugs, but the scientists said more studies into their clinical potential were now justified. Research into the effects of psychedelics, used in the past in psychiatry, has been restricted in recent decades because of the negative connotations of drugs, but the scientists said more studies into their clinical potential were now justified. The researchers said recent brain imaging studies show that psychedelics such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ketamine and psilocybin -- the psychoactive component in recreational drugs known as magic mushrooms -- act on the brain in ways that could help reduce symptoms of various psychiatric disorders. The drugs could be used as a kind of catalyst, the scientists said, helping patients to alter their perception of problems or pain levels and then work with behavioral therapists or psychotherapists to tackle them in new ways. "Psychedelics can give patients a new perspective -- particularly when things like suppressed memories come up -- and then they can work with that experience," said Franz Vollenweider of the Neuropsychopharmacology and brain imaging unit at Zurich's University Hospital of Psychiatry, who published a paper on the issue in Nature Neuroscience journal.” (Click here for more)

Click here for the Small Faces


Discussion has broken out on the interwebs about how early Beatles recordings may have been deliberately speeded up to increase impact and teen appeal. Again it would seem to be a case – at the very least – of “what took you so long?” These tracks have been around for almost half a century and I’ve never heard the idea mooted before. I’m not about to dig out a whole bunch of ancient discs and check for myself and I leave it to your own judgment. I would note, however, that, years ago, Chuck Berry made a similar claim that his early hits were speeded up on the orders of Leonard Chess to make them more teen-friendly, although I wouldn’t totally trust anything ol’ Chuck has had to say.

Click here for the slow down


Here at Doc40 we are huge fans of Simon’s cat, and were thus delighted when Valerie sent us one we hadn’t seen before. Click here for feline fun.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


According to Scientific American, sharks are not, in fact, the big, dumb, nasty, Quint-eating sons-of-bitches we generally imagine them to be. Although it’s still unlikely that even a Great White is smart enough to follow Ellen Brody all the way from Amity to the Bahamas like the one in Jaws: The Revenge. (On the other hand, we though Michael Caine might have been smart enough to stay away from such a godawful movie.)

"Sharks have remained relatively unchanged by evolution for 400 million years, but shark science has evolved significantly in just the past few decades. In 1987 when Discovery Channel's now-famous Shark Week series debuted, researchers had few means of studying the animals beyond underwater cages and crude acoustic tracking devices. Twenty-three years later, marine biologists studying elasmobranch (the subclass of cartilaginous fishes that include sharks, skates and rays) animals employ satellite tracking, genetic analysis and high-definition cameras to broaden their knowledge of shark biology and behavior. This research is revealing, among other things, that even sharks like the great white are intelligent, curious animals with cognitive abilities worth studying. "Many sharks have good learning capacity, which is one way we measure intelligence," says Samuel Gruber, a marine biologist at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), who discovered in 1975 that lemon sharks could learn a classical conditioning task 80 times faster than a cat or rabbit. "I was shocked to find that they could learn so rapidly," he says. Gruber's National Science Foundation–supported Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas, known as Sharklab, is now planning to start a doctoral research program on shark cognition.” Click here for more.

Click here for Jets

The secret word is Food


The other day I happened across a website called Comics With Problems that is a amazingly rich collection of various kinds of propaganda that has been disseminated down the years using a comic book format. Although the material ranged from “tea party” racism to child abuse, I focused in on disinformation from the War On Drugs since that seems to be an ongoing preoccupation round here. Although this stuff reads like something out of the Bizarro world, let’s not forget that the “facts” trumpeted therein have been the pretexts for throwing countless millions of otherwise harmless folk into very real-world prisons.

And for more on speed (succumbing to the temptation of a cheap, self-serving plug) you could pick up a copy of my book Speed-Speed-Speedfreak.

Click here for Motorhead


Animator Max Fleischer is recognized primarily as the creator of Betty Boop but, in the early 1940s, he produced a series of animated Superman episodes that are a wonder to behold. (Click here for more)

Click here to behold


Monday, August 16, 2010


Today is the Elvis Death Day. We don’t actually celebrate it here at Doc40. It’s more the domain of depressed ladies who make pilgrimages to Memphis in the sweating dog-days of August and like to play the Presley version of that morbid Timi Yuro dirge “Hurt.” We celebrate Elvis’ birthday in January and like our man young and feisty.

Click here for young and feisty
And here
And here

The secret word is Gone

Abbey Lincoln – RIP


Here at Doc40 we’ve tracked the fortunes of bees for a number of years. Usually word from the bee world is not good, but the wonderful Valerie has sent us something more than a little positive.

“Tourists are not the only ones swarming down the Champs-Elysees and through the Luxembourg gardens this summer. Thanks to a renewed interest in apiaries, Paris is fast becoming the urban bee-keeping capital of the world. The city now boasts some 400 hives and the number is growing steadily. Some are on the balconies of family apartments, others in public parks or on the roofs of famous buildings. Cultivation of a private honey store is now de rigueur for some of the top hotels and restaurants. The famous Tour d'Argent restaurant opposite Notre Dame Cathedral has just installed hives on its roof-top, as has The Westin hotel on the Rue de Rivoli. Driving the trend is growing public awareness of the crisis in rural bee-keeping caused by the collapse in bee numbers. Oddly, city bees are not just immune to the health problems facing their country cousins - they are also far more productive.” Click here for more

Click here for the Four Tops


Our good pal Jimmy sent over this thought provoking report…

“Artificial meat grown in vats may be needed if the 9 billion people expected to be alive in 2050 are to be adequately fed without destroying the earth, some of the world's leading scientists report today. But a major academic assessment of future global food supplies, led by John Beddington, the UK government chief scientist, suggests that even with new technologies such as genetic modification and nanotechnology, hundreds of millions of people may still go hungry owing to a combination of climate change, water shortages and increasing food consumption. In a set of 21 papers published by the Royal Society, the scientists from many disciplines and countries say that little more land is available for food production, but add that the challenge of increasing global food supplies by as much as 70% in the next 40 years is not insurmountable.” Click here for more

Click here for the Dead


Click here for The Ramones

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This morning murmur really has no logic to it, except as a nebulous wash of fond memory regarding how much I adore the traditional American dinner. (And I mean traditional – probably run by a bad-tempered Greek as parodied by John Belushi in the immortal SNL cheeseburger/no-Coke-Pepsi sketches – and not some Johnny Rockets retro-faux Edward Hopper, tourist joint with implausible chrome, pictures of James Dean, and overpriced burgers.) I haven’t spent as much of my life in diners as I have in bars, but it’s damned close. (Especially here in LA where some diners actually serve liquor.) My life has been filled with regular memories and hazy recall of shaking hands and hung over mornings, in some comforting if queasy haven, with cops in the next booth who are probably laughing at my condition, looking for relief before going home to write, barely able to raise a glass of life-saving spigot Coke to my numb lips while – on too many daylight occasions – the perversely sensual companion of the night before now cursed and groaned, hated me and the angular, cynically all-knowing, chain-smoking waitress for existing to invade in her personal hell of destroyed makeup and ruined nightlife finery, in which she resembled nothing less than Death and the Maiden attempting to negotiate an over-ambitious omelet and black coffee. Or there were pre-dawn pit-stops during drunken rampage to fuel up on grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches before returning to the lurid after-hours almost-morning as in Dave’s Diner on Canal Street that was the de facto annex to the Mud Club of the 1980s. Like I said, this blip has no point, except as fond memory and also an indication of the complete process by which lyrics like those that follow were created.

The city air was wafer brittle. Too jagged for the scarcely sane
Avoiding interloper’s glances, aware that we’d come back again
The ancient crew now reassembled, hallowed sweat in gaudy light
The odds on mayhem swiftly shortening
In the course of such a lurid night
Sweet Anita tactile armored, Baby Joseph hides a gun
Never seen the fix so angry. Spurred us to the contract run
Through all the waterholes of destiny. Drinks all round, now see us right
Commerce long since ceased to signify
In the course of such a lurid night

Marcia springs a roll of hundreds, all the hustlers’ eyes are pinned
Ike just racks ‘em, “don’t say nothing.” Marcia grins and Marcia wins
Queens caressing abject sailors, plan to steal a black and white
Civil law might be suspended
In the course of such a lurid night
Like Johnny told us “ain’t no future”. Each rotten hour as it comes
Mutinous troopers of the evening, distinguished by their rattling drums
On to conquest, on to glory; Martian, Treen or Selenite
Whatever planet you might come from
In the course of such a lurid night

Seals are ruptured, trumpets sounding, the Beast should show up anytime
Hold my horse, postpone apocalypse
This rapture’s getting too divine
I could be drunk, I could be falling, poisoned by a malachite
I could even wrestle scorpions
In the course of such a lurid night
A day of reckoning doubtless waiting, if indeed day ever dawns
Then observe the wretched penitent, speared by dilemma’s horns
Hell to pay, if Hell can catch me and I ain’t going without a fight
I could scale Gehenna’s ramparts
In the course of such a lurid night

Click here for Christopher Walken performing Delilah. (You’ll see why.)

The secret word is Yesterday



“I’ll have the eggs – heavy on the Benedict.”


This tiny Russian kitten is named Luntik, and although the mutant kitty’s four-eared image has gone somewhat viral, no one appears to have noticed that it also has a fairly Satanic fork to its tongue. You have been warned.

Click here for Elvis