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It burns, burns, burns


“So many prominent things and prominent people in American history took place in that house — everyone from Billy Graham to Bob Dylan went into that house,” said singer Marty Stuart, who lives next door and was married to Cash’s daughter, Cindy, in the 1980s.

And me! Weasel! I’ve been in that house!

Johnny Cash’s house. Burned to the ground yesterday in Hendersonville, Tennessee. It was a big wooden wagon wheel of a place on Caudill Drive, sticking out of a cliff face overlooking Old Hickory Lake.

Braxton Dixon, locally famous architect, built it for himself, and Cash managed to wheedle it away from him. I remember my mother saying he had to mow his roof. Looking at the pictures (the BEFORE pictures), that doesn’t look right. Maybe it was a joke. Or maybe they changed the roofline at some point. Anyhow, the funky design surely made fighting the fire all but impossible.

It was no big. We weren’t best buds or anything. My family lived in the same general area for a few years and were part of the same general cocktail party circuit.

I was an eight year old knucklehead and I don’t recall a whole lot about it. The thing I remember most vividly about the house itself was the bathroom: it had a small reproduction of Rodin’s The Thinker in it. That was a sophisticated and amusing note, and therefore June Carter must’ve done it, because Johnny was a sweet man but dumb as a stump.

I will forever think of this piece as The Constipated Guy.

And now you will, too.


Comment from itishwhay abbitray
Time: April 12, 2007, 1:43 pm

Vonnegut went yesterday, too.

I wonder if the statue survived the blaze.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 12, 2007, 3:45 pm

That’s too bad about the house. It’s an interesting “brush with greatness” story too. I have a second-hand brush that’s not nearly so good. And, yes now I’ll always think of “The Thinker” as a guy trying to squeeze one out.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 12, 2007, 4:51 pm

The statue is probably long gone. This was almost forty years ago we’re talking.

Oh, god. I can remember things that happened forty years ago.

Excuse me. I’m going to open a vein.

Comment from tibbar shit ihw
Time: April 12, 2007, 5:28 pm

Enas- what’s your brush with greatness story?

I rode in an elevator once with Bull Shannon from Night Court.

conclusion- he really is that tall

Comment from SteamGoo McBoat (with cheese)
Time: April 12, 2007, 6:05 pm

Effendi Weasel,

You’re almost exactly as old as I used to be some years ago. What a coincidence. You must have been born at a very early age, too, like me.

I was never a knucklehead, though. Always wanted to be, though.

I will always think of that statue as “Loaf-Pincher” now. Damn.

Pity about Vonnegut. I liked Cat’s Cradle. “No damned cat – no damned cradle!” …And Ice-Nine was neat. I want some.

Too bad about Cash’s house. But look on the bright side: at least he wasn’t caught in the fire. We can thank God for that, at least!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 12, 2007, 6:43 pm

Vonnegut. I read everything he wrote until, like, 1972. Loved it all. I wonder how it would hold up now, though. His recent stuff (okay, I randomly read something of his in the ’90s, I think) was crap.

Rented a tent, a tent, a tent…That was me. That was I. That was the author of this book…You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps…farting and tapdancing…Shazbutter…

Shit. Attack of the random Vonnegut quotes. Why can I remember this stuff forty years later and totally forget to bring my vital W2 in to work this morning?

Somebody I work with had one of his sons for a dentist. The other (how many did he have?) was a schizophrenic. I read his very hip ’70s era autobiography.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 12, 2007, 7:08 pm

Your reading experience with KV sounds like mine with Stephen King. Read everything he wrote until “Geralds Game” and “Black House”, etc. Just. Couldn’t. Finish. Them.

Authors go off into new areas and styles, we grow older, and tastes change. And…sometimes authors just write crap! I know I would if I were an author.

Don’t feel bad about the W2. I bet Vonneguts old, schizo son forgets his, too.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 12, 2007, 7:21 pm

Gerald’s game was a mixed bag. I kind of liked it until the last few pages, when he totally had no fucking idea what acromegaly was. We had Google by then, doof!

Rose Madder! That’s when I stopped reading Stephen King. I didn’t mind that it was a feminist opus. I minded that it was a bad feminist opus.

Also, rose madder — trivia question — was the most expensive Winsor & Newton pigment available in watercolors. IIRC $80 a tube. You come out with a novel named after my favorite trivia question, it better not suck.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 12, 2007, 8:34 pm

We are of one mind on SK. On the other hand “From a Buick Eight” was great. Classic SK. I do know some folks that didn’t like it. “Cell” was so-so. It seemed a bit of a re-hash of other concepts and scenes from other stories. Not his best work.

Since you read all of the net every day you do know that they are making “The Mist” into a flick? That was a good story. It’ll be out around Nov. Can’t wait to see the critters, especially the spiders and the big tentacle.


I didn’t know Rose-M was a color – me not ever being in the art field. Good thing I read Weasel! I can’t even begin to count the number of times I might have needed that info for…something. Maybe its my favorite color and I never realized it!

You have trouble with SK on his color names: I occasionally have issues with him on his science. I will accept monsters, aliens, ghosts, and vampires all day long – no problemo. But when SK tells me that “…twenty-thousand volts of amps coursed through his body!” I get knocked right out of the story. That was in “Tommyknockers” BTW, and there was no earthly excuse for it! It made me furious.

It was kind of like saying “He was hit by twenty-thousand pounds-per-square-inch of gallons.” Yaaaa!

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 12, 2007, 9:16 pm

Gracious! A story request for me? From the elusive Rabbit no less! Well, I have two. Again they’re second-hand brushes (I met someone who met someone) so bear with me.

First, years ago I met a woman who told me that she almost got peed on by Jim Morrison on Venice Beach back in the 60’s. Oh sure, she could have been spinning a yarn, but it had the detail that made me believe it.

Second, somewhat fewer years ago I worked in a costume photography studio over at the Excalibur H & C here in Las Vegas. I worked the night shift and one evening I came in and the whole place was abuzz. Seems I had just missed Alice Cooper with his family having Picture Day. I have a copy print of the pose they did. He’s dressed as a warrior with a halberd and dagger, his mother dressed as a queen on the throne, his very pretty wife as a princess and his two adorable kids as young royalty. By all accounts Mr. Cooper was a real nice guy.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 5:05 am

Well, shoot, Enas…I’d’ve asked. I assumed you had a reason for not just blurting it out. I’ve always heard Alice Cooper was a nice guy, though I’m dipped if I can remember where.

Now, stand back, everybody! McGoo hit the art button!

Rose madder is probably not anybody’s favorite color; it looks like stringy brownish pink snot. I had a tube once. Also, it’s not really acceptably permanent. Why W&N still sell that classic and not tons of other, more useful obsolete pigments, I do not know (well, a lot of the really good obsolete ones are deadly poison). Rose madder is made from the crushed root of the common madder plant.

In 1837 (if memory serves) the first synthetic analog of a natural pigment was made, and it was a synthetic madder: alizarin crimson. It’s my favorite color. It’s a deep, velvety transparent ruby red. Nothing at all like rose madder. It’s a useful color, both by itself and in mixtures.

It is, however, a lake pigment. Which is to say, not a pigment at all, but a dye precipitated onto an inert base (alumina in this case, I think). Dyes (aqueous coloring materials, as opposed to pigments, which are little pieces of substances which have a color) are by their nature impermanent. Or fugitive. For years, alizarin crimson was the bottom of the palette: the least permanent of the paints considered acceptably permanent. I’m not even sure it’s considered acceptable any more.

I had a car painted alizarin crimson once. A Datsun roadster. It’s not far off candy apple, come to think of it.

Um. Yeah. I was an art nerd.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 5:17 am

Ahem. Yeah. King. I haven’t read any of those stories you mention. I guess I dropped off the bandwagon before then.

I think it was Rose Madder that had the character who was a drunk. It didn’t matter what this guy did or said, because he was a drunk and therefore intrinsically worthless. As a drunk, that really pissed me off. So I poured myself three fingers of scotch and read something else. So many books, so little time.

You think maybe his editors are afraid to edit him, he being the great Stephen King and all? A terrific writer when he hits his stride, but he does tend to blurt the most preposterous things. Things a proper editor should’ve caught and fixed.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 5:21 am

Hey, this is great. Finally a blog where I can piss all over the comments section and the owner doesn’t care!

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 8:23 am

M’Lord Weasel,

You own the blog – and the comments section – so whizz away!

I was thinking your “first synthetic pigment” would be an aniline dye al la Perkins (mauve) about 1850-ish, but I’m probably wrong. It was derived from coal tar. It’s also a carcinogen IIRC. (Yes – I read the book ‘Mauve’) Most of ’em were. Boo.

If you is/were so skilled at Art-Fu, how come you know so much about techno-stuff? I mean, you gots three monitors! And a blog!

I bet you’re one of those folks who use BOTH sides of the brain. Hmph! You could go blind.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 8:29 am

On editers:
Yeah – I figure the editers knew less about things electrical than even SK. And I know I was being picky, but – dammit! – how hard is it to pass the text in question by a techie? I’m sure(?) SK passed his medical text stuff by a Dr. There are half-dozen ways to fix the offending sentence that do not intrude or subtract from the narrative flow.


Oh, well. Rant over.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 9:08 am

Nah, he totally blew acromegaly in Gerald’s Game. A doctor would’ve cringed. (I think he made the guy thin and spindly and mental, something like that. He should watch more Bond films. That guy who played Jaws was one).

Meh. I wanted to be a fine artiste. The few people I know who did well in fine arts were bankrolled by somebody for ten years or more before they got a foothold. Nobody stepped forward to bankroll me, so I took a job as an illustrator in an engineering company. Then computers happened and I liked them. At some point I realized that computers were thriving and fine arts were not.

Just as well, probably. My best work is good, ifIdosaysomyself, but I don’t always do my best work. And I’m very, very slow.

You know what drives fine arts? Income inequity. When rich people can afford to support a craftsman comfortably for a year or more so he can paint the Last Judgment on the ceiling of the breakfast room. Or whatever.

Go inequity!

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 11:34 am

You’re one of those guys I had to interface with when marketing needed photos/artwork to sell my shit…er…I mean my state-of-the-art cutting-edge product designs.

Every time I opened my mouth I felt like a blithering idiot. Now, I’ve felt like an idiot plenty of times, but I do not blither all that often – and certainly not in public.

I always felt that you guys were looking askance at me – and finding me vaguely wanting. Like I hadn’t bathed properly, or I’d farted, or something.

On subsidies from the rich: I’ve seen that! A lady-friend – a sculpturess(?) – borrowed some of my tech stuff (video imagers, photometers, lasers, scopes, PC, etc) and cables and whatnot to lay around her workshop and current effort to impress a client that was getting skittish about funding.

It worked. She got two more years out of the folks. They ended up being very happy.

That was my only contribution to the finer arts.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 11:46 am

Nah. I wasn’t looking down on you. I just…ummm…really do…smell something.

Check your shoe.

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 13, 2007, 2:40 pm

Sorry, that was me. I’ve been swimming in raw sewage. I love it!

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 4:33 pm


Was that you? Now I understand why the “occupied” sign was up at the local cloaca. But never fear: I found a dead channel catfish to roll around on, so everything is ok now.

Comment from Kilgore Trout
Time: April 13, 2007, 4:37 pm


Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 4:38 pm

The real question is: Is Weasel gonna leave us hanging all weekend (with bad weather coming and taxes almost due!), or is he gonna put some unique new effort up for our perusal and amusement?

I’m getting ready to bate (or is it bait? For me, either works) my breath in anticipatory delight.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 4:40 pm

Venus? Is that you?

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 13, 2007, 4:48 pm

He’ll probably throw up some internet weirdness and hang out the sleepy weasel sign before too much longer.

Comment from SteamBoat McGoo
Time: April 13, 2007, 7:26 pm

I bet he’s tracking down the references to Vonnegut and Philip Jose Farmer.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 13, 2007, 7:39 pm

Wait! Why didn’t my dingus tell me you psychotics were paddling around in this thread?!?

I drove to the post office at lunch and paid my taxes. I wanted that Friday the 13th postmark. I owed ONE DOLLAR to the state of Rhode Island. It was my pleasure to pay it with my Scooby Doo imprinted personal check. Take my money and my insult, you peegs.

Farmer…I’ve read Farmer…a thousand years ago. Why am I confusing him with Philip K. Dick? Best ever Philip K. Dick quote, ever. Might’ve been in Ubik. A woman, after the menfolk kill a harmless but scary-looking crane fly:

If I’d known it was harmless, I’d have killed it myself.

Comment from tibbar shit ihw
Time: April 14, 2007, 12:22 pm

Enas- Ohh, almost missed it. Alice Cooper sounds incredibly normal and nice… big contrast from the image.

I have no problem, on the other hand, believing that Jim Morrison peed on his acquaintances. I’m surprised there isn’t a ‘Jim Peed on Me’ website out there, with pages of testimonials and the occasional streaming arc photograph.


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