Sunday, September 18, 2016

White Rabbit -- Feed Your Head

Grace Barnett Wing was born in Highland Park, Illinois, on October 30, 1939. Her father, Ivan W, Wing, was Scandinavian (Swedish & Norwegian) and her mother, Virginia Barnett, was a lineal descendant of the passengers of the Mayflower, the ship that transported the Pilgrims from England to the New World in 1620.

Her father was an investment banker who was transferred several times when Grace was a child -- from Chicago to Los Angeles to San Francisco, and finally settling in Palo Alto, California, near San Francisco, in the 1950s.

In 1961, Grace Wing married Gerald (Jerry) Slick and became Grace Slick, a very groovy soul.

Grace worked as a model at an I. Magnin Department Store for three years and also started composing music.

In 1965, Grace Slick (guitar, vocals), Jerry Slick (drums), Jerry's brother Darby Slick (lead guitar) and David Miner (bass guitar) formed a band called The Great Society. In October of 1965, the band made its debut at a venue called the Coffee Gallery.

Soon thereafter, Grace composed the song, WHITE RABBIT. She claimed to have written it in less than an hour. It would eventually become one of the greatest songs of the 1960s -- a reflection of the affects of psychedelic drugs, prevalent in the hippie movement in the San Francisco bay area.


One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head
 (Lyrics by Grace Slick)

Grace would later proclaim "feed your head" meant to read a book.

Later that year, Jefferson Airplane's singer left the band to raise her child, whereupon Grace Slick was asked to join the band. Once Grace was aboard, the band became more psychedelic. Soon, WHITE RABBIT and SOMEBODY TO LOVE became Top Ten singles.

Grace Slick was definitely a force of nature.

  • On The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV show in 1968, Grace performed CROWN OF CREATION in black-face and ended it with a Black Panther fist.

  • In 1969, appearing on the Dick Cavett Show, she became the first person to utter the word "motherf++ker" on live TV.

After Jefferson Airplane disbanded, Grace formed Jefferson Starship and cut many albums, including:

  • Manhole
  • Dreams
  • Welcome to the Wrecking Ball
  • Software

The album, Dreams, was nominated for a Grammy Award and Grace was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Rock Female Vocalist, for her solo on the album, in 1981.

David Crosby, founding member of both, THE BYRDS and CROSBY, STILLS & NASH, nicknamed Grace "The Chrome Nun" -- Crosby went by the nickname "Baron von Tollbooth" -- in 1973, Grace, along with Paul Kanter and David Freiberg made an album titled BARON VON TOLLBOOTH & THE CHROME NUN.

Grace retired from the music business in 1989.

In a 1998 interview, Grace stated, "All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire." And in a 2007 interview, she reiterated, "You can do jazz, classical, blues, opera, country until you're 150, but rap and rock-and-roll are really a way for young people to get that anger out -- it's silly to perform a song that has no relevance to the present or expresses feelings you no longer have."

However, Grace did come out of retirement a couple of times.

  • In 1995, she joined the restructured Jefferson Starship to play a gig at the House of Blues.

  • In late 2001, after the Twin Towers were destroyed in NYC, Grace appeared on stage covered, head to toe, in a black burqa -- then removed the burqa to reveal a an American flag and the words "F++k Fear" -- her explanation, "The outfit is not about Islam, it's about repression; this flag is not about politics, it's about liberty."

Grace and Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Nixon, were both alumni of Finch College. In 1969, Grace was invited to a tea party for the alumni of Finch College at the White house. She invited political activist, Abbie Hoffman, as her escort, whereby they planned to spike the President's tea with 600 micrograms of LSD. However, the plan was thwarted because the White House security detail recognized Grace, who had been placed on an FBI blacklist. The original invitation was addresses to Grace Wing, Grace's name prior to marrying Jerry Slick.

In 1971, while racing with a friend, Grace crashed her car into a wall near the Golden Gate Bridge, suffering a concussion.

During her time as part of Jefferson Airplane, Grace had been arrested at least four times for what she referred to as "drunk mouth" and "TUI" (Talking Under the Influence).

One incident occurred when she had an argument with current-partner, Paul Kantner, whereupon Kantner removed the keys from the ignition and threw them out the car window onto someone's front lawn. As Grace was crawling around on the lawn, a police officer showed up. Apparently the drunk mouth (TUI) of Grace led to an arrest.

Another incident occurred when Grace was sitting against a tree trunk in the woods of Marin County, drinking wine and reading poetry. A police officer arrived and engaged in a conversation whereupon drunk mouth (TUI) once again got her arrested.

In 1994, Grace was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after pointing an unloaded gun at a police officer. Her excuse was that the police officer had trespassed onto her property without permission or explanation.

After retiring, after a house fire, after divorce, Grace began painting and drawing for pleasure.

At some point, her agent approached Grace about writing a memoir, which eventually became SOMEBODY TO LOVE? A ROCK-AND-ROLL MEMOIR. When her agent noticed some of Grace's artwork, he prompted her to do portraits of various Rock-n-Roll contemporaries, to be included in the memoir.

Grace eventually agreed. Her color renditions of Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin became part of the memoir publication -- many other Grace Slick sketches and paintings were also included in the book. Some of her works also became record album covers.

She continued with her artwork, much of which is "mixed media." She uses canvas, acrylic paints, ink, pen and pencil. Her best-selling originals and prints are portraits of those in the music industry, various renditions of White Rabbit and "Alice in Wonderland" themes, all of which led to a partnership with Dark Horse Comics, resulting in the release of journals and stationary with the "Wonderland" theme.

Grace visits up to 30 art gallery shows per year, across the country, where her work is displayed. She claims to enjoy it, except for the travelling. Those who purchase one of her works get a personalized autograph on the back of the piece and get to have a photo with her.

Grace Slick is the oldest female vocalist on a Billboard Hot 100, chart-topping single. Her song, WE BUILT THE CITY, reached number one in November of 1985, when she was 46 years old. The previous record was Tina Turner, at age 44, with her song WHAT'S LOVE GO TO DO WITH IT. In 1999, Grace's record was broken by Cher, at age 53, when her song, BELIEVE, became number one.

In 1996, Grace Slick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Jefferson Airplane.

In 1999, she was ranked number 20 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll.

Yes, indeed -- Grace Slick is a very groovy soul.

Feed your head

Feed your head


Quote for the Day -- “No matter how big or soft or warm your bed is, you still have to get out of it.” Grace Slick

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where "feed your head" means to nibble on some food.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Beyond Earth

Planet Earth is orbiting the sun at 67,000 miles per hour -- it is also rotating on its axis (spinning) at 1,000 miles per hour at the equator.

Our solar system (the sun and its 9 planets) is traveling through space at 515,000 miles per hour.

Our sun is a single star within a galaxy of stars, called the Milky Way.

Our Milky Way galaxy, home of our solar system, is 100,000 light years across -- it would take about 230,000,000 (230 million) years at the speed of light to travel all the way around the outside perimeter of the Milky Way galaxy.

There are about 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars within the Milky Way galaxy alone, a modest-sized galaxy compared to most other galaxies in the known universe.

Our known universe contains some 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) galaxies, with each galaxy potentially containing multiple billions of stars.

On a clear night, the average person is able to view approximately 3,000 stars with the naked eye.

On July 22, 2003, CNN News reported that astronomers announced there are 70 sextillion stars in the visible universe.

A sextillion is a 1 followed by 21 zeroes -- that's 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 known stars in the universe, more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the entire Earth. This is not the total number of stars in the universe -- it's the number within the range of present day telescopes. The true number could be a zillion times higher.

Our single star (the sun) contains 9 planets -- imagine how many potential planets are contained within 70, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000 known stars (other suns).

Keep that in mind the next time you complain about finding a convenient parking spot.

Also, keep that in mind if you assume that Planet Earth is the only spinning orb in the universe that contains intelligent entities, such as human beings, whose intelligence is often highly questionable.

Quote for the Day -- “Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.” Albert Einstein

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the universe seems like a fairly large place.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


In 1923, a land syndicate created a new housing development on the Hollywood hillside of the Santa Monica Mountains. In an attempt to flaunt their new development, they contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect a large HOLLYWOODLAND sign on Mount Lee, which is also part of Griffith Park.

The 13 letters, on a hillside facing south, were each 30 feet wide and 50 feet high. The letters were studded with some 4,000 light bulbs, whereby the sign would flash in 3 segments -- "HOLLY" & "WOOD" & "LAND" would alternate, lighting up individually.

The Poles that supported the sign were hauled up to the site by mules. The cost of the project was $21,000.

The sign was officially dedicated in 1923.

It was only intended to remain there for a year and a half. However, with the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles, the sign became a favorite symbol and remained in place.

Over time, it sustained damage and deterioration of the unprotected wood and sheet metal structure.

In 1932, the HOLLYWOODLAND sign was the scene of a bizarre incident. Millicent Lilian "Peg" Entwistle (1908 - 1932) was a stage and screen actress. She had appeared in several Broadway productions and only a single movie, titled Thirteen Women, On September 16, 1932, Entwistle leaped to her death from the "H" on the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, at age 24.

The official caretaker in the early 1940s, while driving drunk, was approaching the top of Mount Lee when he lost control of his 1928 Ford Model A and veered off the cliff directly behind the H, destroying both his car and the original 50-foot tall letter H.

In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Congress entered into a contract with the Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles to repair and rebuild the sign. As part of the contract, the "LAND" portion of the sign was to be removed, leaving the sign with 9 letters, reading HOLLYWOOD. The Chamber of Congress also opted not to replace any of the light bulbs on the letters.

In the 1970s, the first O had splintered and the third O had fallen down, rendering the sign to read HULLYWO D.

Hugh Hefner, publisher of Playboy magazine, began a campaign to restore the landmark sign.

In 1978, the Chamber of Congress decided to replace the deteriorating sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donors each gave $27,777.77 (totaling $249,999.93) to sponsor one of the replacement letters. The nine donors were each assigned a letter.

H -- Terrence Donnelly (publisher of Hollywood Independent Newspaper)
O -- Giovanni Mazza (Italian movie producer)
L -- Les Kelley (creator of The Kelley Blue Book)
L -- Gene Autry (actor)
Y -- Hugh Hefner (Publisher of Playboy)
W -- Andy Williams (singer)
O -- Warner Bros. Records
O -- Alice Cooper (singer)
D -- Dennis Lidke (businessman)

Alice Cooper had made his donation in the memory of his friend, comedian Groucho Marx, who had once joked that he would also donate an "O" from his own name.

The new version of the sign was unveiled on November 11, 1978, on a live CBS television special broadcast commemorating the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Hollywood.

Hooray for HOLLYWOOD.

Quote for the Day -- “Hollywood is like Picasso's bathroom.” Candace Bergen

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and has fond memories of having lived a dozen years in the Land of Fruits & Nuts.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trivial Trivia

In his 1918 book titled TRIVIA, British Author Logan Pearsall Smith (1865 - 1946) wrote "I know too much; I have stuffed too many of the facts of History and Science into my intellectuals. My eyes have grown dim over books; believing in geological periods, cave dwellers, Chinese Dynasties, and the fixed stars has prematurely aged me."

For those you thrive of useless trivia, I offer the following useless trivia.

  • The average person falls asleep in 7 minutes.

  • The average person's left hand does most of the typing.

  • "Stewardesses" is the longest word types with only the left hand.

  • There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

  • A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

  • There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.

  • "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends with the letters "mt."

  • Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

  • Maine is the only state in the USA whereby the name is only one syllable.

  • Al Capone's business card listed his occupation as a used furniture dealer.

  • The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

  • A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

  • A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

  • The average life of a five dollar bill is 5 1/2 years before it is replaced due to wear.

  • The Sunday New York Times, the largest newspaper in the world, has nearly a thousand pages, weighing up to 7+ pounds. It takes nearly 20 acres of wood pulp to produce one Sunday edition.

  • During 1968 to 1974, a woman in rural Iowa, Marva Drew, typed the number from 1 to 1,000,000 on a standard typewriter, filling nearly 2,500 pages.

  • ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC is an acronym used by the U.S. Navy, meaning "Administration Command Subordinate Command Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet"

  • The English word "set" has close to 200 meanings, 60 as a noun and 120 as a verb, depending on the context in which it is used.

  • You can't have everything, where would you put it?

  • If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.

  • On the other hand, you have different fingers.

  • Those who laugh last, think slowest.

  • The things that come to those who wait may be things left by those who got there first.

  • The cure for insomnia is to get more sleep.

  • Snowmen fall from the sky unassembled.

  • I got a sweater for my birthday, but I wanted a moaner or a screamer.

Quote for the Day -- “My wife and I were happy for twenty years -- then we met.” Rodney Dangerfield

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.