Monday, December 31, 2007

Die 2007! Die!

"I think watching 2007 go out is gonna be like watching a burning ship squeal and writhe as it sinks into the ocean and dies." - Mike Marcyes

Well Happy Freakin Nude Year!

I tell you what, 2007 sure as shit sucked ass.
Come on, 2008! Pay up!
You owe me some back rent!
I hold you personally responsible for all damages and debts wailed on me by 2007.
So kick down! I gotta get my drink on! Yeah.
Right. Okay. That's right. Whatever.
Just watch this video.
I dunno, but somehow as I sit here 90 minutes from the click of the Crazy Clock on over into some new and promising reality, all I can think of to write is.. well, NUTHIN!
Thank God then for little drunk people and subtitles.
This video that I stumbled onto and pilfered off of YouTube today says everything I wanna say about last year AND THE NEXT! Enjoy.
I'm gonna go get in a morphine coma and have kudzu vines tattooed all over my face.
See you next..

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Very Merry from me and the new wife

A Very Joyous Junkie Christmas To All, & To All A Good High!
No, seriously folks.
Happy Holidaze from your favorite miscreant poet and scribbler,
Dr. Oznog Jigglethwarp Hayduke, the One & Only.

And special thanks to and prayers for my friend Bianca
(the model for this MOST SCANDALOUS shot!), to Bianca
and to her sister Angelina fighting this holiday season with

something to humble us all in our holiday battles:
cervical cancer.

Our prayers are with you, Angelina.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Review my book! Pretty please?

Today's Photo is of my friend Diane Bombshelter's bookshelf. The baby head was a gift to her from Lord Duke the art car. I have another picture of Diane, a big gonzo fan, standing outside the Woody Creek Tavern in full gonzo attire. Alas, I want to use it somewhere where it won't be rapidly buried by tomorrow's and tomorrow's and the following tomorrow's postings. So, stay tuned on that one.

First off, in the news: (not one to point fingers, for indeed I have was silent as the grave here in Jiggle Blog Flog da Paris Box-ville for half a frikken year) but my cousin Justino has FINALLY blogged again. Yes, I'm Sirius. Check it out. It's a good little story complete with forgotten native Americans, total loss of motor control on black ice & other snow storm hell, road rage, AM radio fuzz, and good Italian that he is he even got his mother in there, too. Click The Burning Mind to crawl inside my cousin's mind.

Secondly, whoever sent me the package to POB 32352, Oakland 94604, that's my address. I'm totally sorry they returned it to you. Postal swine. Seems they have this policy about not holding packages for more than ten daze. Something about lack of space. I remember tiny little post offices along the Appalachians that were stuffed to the ceiling with hiker packages that the local postmasters would dutifully hold onto for months and months w/o complaint. My post office in downtown Oakland is so mammoth it could house an indoor Nascar track. Ridiculous. Well, I bike everywhere these days (no car). Between that and the fact that I exercise my right as a bat-crazy writer to stay up all night writing (and doing my best to promote Dead Men in anyway I can online, as you'll see below), well, I don't get to the box very often. So I missed a package. It arrived around my birthday. I can only imagine it was something very nice, a heartfelt gift. Forgive me kind sender, whoever you are.

So, finally, the promotional crap. has this thing where you can enter in keywords to go with your book. Then they take it a step further and invite you to express in a short paragraph WHY the keyword (or author or book) you've tagged to relates to your book. So I pissed away a few hours tonight plugging my own damn book. I gotta tell you, there's nothing worse than tooting your own horn. I HATE it when people do it to me, and I have never expected any agent or publisher or ANYONE to listen to my own promotion of my work. To my mind, the best recommendations are those that come from other people, two or three steps removed from the source.

Having said that, can I throw a little Christmas request out there into the Universe? I don't want presents. I don't need anything tangible. But for all of you who read Dead Men but never went online to review it on Amazon, how about it, eh? Even if you hated the dang book, write that! Write anything. Just review it. And don't read the other reviews first. You'll taint your own view. Write how it made you feel, what it did for you, where it took you, etc. I know it's sold some 2000 copies, so it totally mystifies me as to why there are only 17 reviews on Amazon. Hell, as you'll see below, I just wrote four "reviews" myself.

Be my good little elves. Be my Santa Clauses and Rudolphs! Click this paragraph to be taken straight there and just write something. Your opinion matters! Thank you. tag words for Dead Men Hike No Trails:

Appalachian Trail Thruhike:
Several readers of this book have found it inspiring enough to launch thruhikes of their own. I speak based on fact, not ego, when I say EVERY reader of this book has expressed only praise. If the author didn't continue to battle chemical depression, he'd have an agent, a publicist and a bestseller.

Bill Bryson:
When told I thruhiked the AT, people say: Bill Bryson. If you loved A Walk In The Woods for its humor, as I did, but are one who desires a more intimate relationship with your author, read my reviews. They say it all. I take you on an unforgettable journey in a book you'll never want to part with.

Into the Wild:
This is required reading for anyone who felt a personal connection to the whole McCandless epic freedom journey. Why? Because it ends not in death but in LIFE! Thousands head into the forests of the U.S. every year for the same reasons as Chris, and months later they come home alive. Buy this book.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Delays, delays & the death of James

This wonderfully demented Sebastian Kruger rendering of "Naked Lunch" author William Burroughs is/was for sale on eBay today. The going bid at 3 pm PST was $41. My friend Hunter Mann turned me on to it, and I responded to him saying that if my friend James hadn't run off and joined the choir invisible back in May, were he thus still alive this Christmas, I would have out bid anyone to make him a gift of it. Alas, he is gone, and I'm drawing a blank as to who else might like it in my several circles of friends (probably most any of them, the bloody freaks!). And I live on a sailboat. Not much room for a 2x3 foot leering portrait of a dog-icidle queer junkie genius.

Anyway, back to the new book. Although it hardly feels new anymore, interrupted in over two years of random scribbling by not one but TWO serious episodes of post-humous grief over loved ones lost, the death of four other art car friends, a string of tail-chasing publicity events for "Dead Men," the death and long-delayed replacement of two laptops, the purchase and resurrection of two neglected sailboats for the dual purposes of living aboard and moving toward the 36- 40 footer more suitable to open ocean sailing (read: escape out the Gate, or, I think it was Cypress Hill that said, "When the shit goes down, you better be ready."). Oh and moving from the asylum safe surrounds of small town Arizona to the big loud loco San Fran bay area, and just to really throw some terror in the mix: quitting anti-depressents after a decade on the shit. That's about it, I guess.

Yeah. So, back to the new book, which shall as-yet remain unnamed. For those of you who liked "Dead Men," which judging by every review and email I've seen is ALL OF YOU, you're gonna loooooooove this one. Speaking of Burroughs, I'll challenge any of you to find a linear story line in this one. It's working up to be a kind of Naked Lunch On the Road with Fear & Loathing and Civil Disobedience for All.

Make your holiday shopping easy! Buy everyone you love a copy of "Dead Men Hike No Trails," the life-affirming survival memoir that touches everyone and that no one can read just once. Grab 'em now at!

Or, or, or, you get the picture, although I highlight Booklocker because they're my publisher, a small press outa Maine. And not only is it good to support the little guy, but you double your good kharma by not buying from the big shits, who in all their giant corporate graciousness, pay authors less than a dollar a book.

God Bless America and bring the boys back home. - RSM

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tommy's Vivid Life

Gray San Francisco Wednesday. Humpday. Haydeen and Tom craft a hippo hump of clay to build a mold that will eventually be filled with epoxy resin, and, when hardened, affixed to a brand new Toyota Rav 4.

I remember the days years ago when Tom Kennedy would dream aloud of one day making art cars for a living. Years hence, to my eyes, he's realized that dream. Today he and his new wife Haydeen work on a hippo car. At Burning Man just months ago, the couple delivered the Green Dream Machine to the man who conceived and commissioned the art piece, an ethereal, soothingly-lit floating lily pad of a car with a giant overhanging leaf canopy hovering, waving, bouncing lightly along, all its weight and umbrella girth held aloft by naught but "Kennedy magic," a beautifully woven steel "tree" rooted in the rear. It was a joy both to behold from afar and to ride inside along the rainbow, neon-lit playa night beneath the black, black northern Nevada night sky.

Tom Kennedy has created some 25 art vehicles in a dozen or so years since quitting the corporate world to dive in with all the colorful cars and artists he once could only watch out his office window in downtown Houston. Nearly half a dozen of all the cars he has created have been commissioned pieces.

A few years back, Tom created a Cheshire Cat car for Burning Man mogul Marian Goodell. It was sweet. But what was really sweet was swimming circles around the ever growing sea of what Burning Man now calls "mutant vehicles" in the whale. The Great White Whale. Moby Dick with a propane-pressurized blow-hole shooting 50-foot columns of fire into the night sky.

Sitting atop the whale's nose one night
manning the propane cannon, I was delighted by a comment by longtime cacophonist and mad creative genius Chris Ratcliff who said, or rather asked, "How does it feel to be living one of the most vivid lives on the planet?"

There are no words to express how it felt, none perhaps except.. vivid.

That was atop the 72-foot long whale with Tom
at the helm. Today it's tiny little hippo parts. Tomorrow perhaps a giant truck with fins over the rear wheels and a 20-foot missile that rises on hydraulics and screams and smokes as though to launch at any moment, an appropriately ironic "smile bomb" to jostle the complacent brain into critical thought in these strange dark days of our government's renewed war on peace.

But whatever he builds, it's all the same in my mind. Tom Kennedy is living his dream.

I'll bet it is a vivid one. - RSM

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dead Men Don't Like Work

My buddy Harrod Blank put a bug in my brain the other night about my book and it's popularity on the web. He said to plug "Dead Men Hike No Trails" in to Google image search and see how many hits it brought up. That, he said, should be my barometer of the books publicity, and the more sites I could get to pop up under the book's name, the better the book would sell. Hmm, I thought. Interesting.

I'd thrown my own name into Google's engines several times, but the name of the book? So I tried it.

I learned a long time ago that putting your title search in quote marks REALLY cuts out the fat and gives you a much more concise search result. I did this, and wasn't at all displeased with what I saw. Sure, I could do a lot better, and will. But for now the book's up there, here and there.

Here then, is one instance where, although the article doesn't include an image of the book's cover, it does mention the book, and thus it came up. It gave me a good little chuckle.

I remember the freelance writer, Ronald Ehrens. Nice guy. One beer together and he bought the book off me without batting an eye. And in writing about me later in his article, he more or less forgot to write about Bisbee. Read this clip and see what I mean. I'm not sure he quoted me quite right (I'd like to think I said "don't like real jobs) but he probably did, and he had to really reach to tie together a few totally disparate topics in so few words, no small feat. I was quite honored by it all, especially that he sent me a copy of the mag. Class act. Thank you, Ron!
"It was Saturday evening when we checked in at the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona, said to be the nation's southernmost mile-high town. Bisbee, like Ajo, was built by the Phelps Dodge Mining Company. After a supper far surpassing lukewarm hot dogs, I sat at the bar and met writer Rick McKinney, who spoke sarcastically of the Minutemen. Whereas they had only patrolled a two-mile stretch of border, McKinney last summer had hiked to Hunter S. Thompson's memorial service, near Aspen, Colorado, when the gonzo doctor's ashes were fired from a cannon. In his new book, Dead Men Hike No Trails, McKinney writes of "a lifetime of swimming from one funky freak community to another . . ." So who lives in Bisbee? Retirees? Ski bums? "People who don't like to work," he said."

The article in its entirety can be read at:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I Got's DIY in my DNA

I finally tired of my techno-impotence the other day. I yanked out my 6-month dead Mac laptop, the one on which I edited "Dead Men" (thus dearly hated to part with), and pulled off a massive DIY (do it yourself) coup involving about a hundred micro-screws and snap-plug connectors so small an infants' finger would be hard-pressed to manipulate them. Of all the laptops ever made by Mac, this one, I was told, was the one not even Mac geeks liked to touch, its innards all foil-wrapped and densely packed, a virtual impossibility for the novice.

I'd already paid one such geek $100 to go in and pry into my private files and suck what he could out of a synapticly-mangled hard drive and onto a backup DVD before the thing totally died. Had I waited any longer, I was sure the 20 gig HD, no bigger than 1/4 of a deck of playing cards, would have imploded in upon itself like a white dwarf star, then back out again, blowing up me, my boat, San Francisco Bay and leaving a hole in the western hemisphere large enough to park the moon, as white dwarfs are known to do.

Anyway, said geek wasn't the first to tell me how hard it was to do surgery on a G3 iBook, but he was the first to give me a glimmer of hope that I, Rick McKinney, recipient of the Half Off For Jesus Lifetime Unemployability Grant Award, could possibly perform said surgery MYSELF.

He didn't say it in those terms. What he did say was, "Yeah, the screens on those will sometimes short out, and to go in and find the short you gotta take apart everything to get to this tiny bundle of wires and unwrap the foil and tape, and ugh!" To which I said, "Oh, yeah, I had that problem once. I fixed that." At this point he looked at me like I had three heads and exclaimed, "You did what?"

So I took a crack at it. I dissected more of the computer than necessary (what did I know?) when I thought, "Hmm, I wonder?" and went online and sure enough there was this site that laid it all out for you. With ease, I found hard drive removal directions for my exact model, paged through 1, 2, 3.. over twenty pages of instructions and said, "Hot damn! I did all right!" I was so impressed and grateful for their step-by-step instructions that I ordered the part from them, right then and there, badda-bing badda-bang! And for half the cost of the recovery DVD I'd paid the geek to make me.

That was three days ago. I got the new hard drive in the mail today. I'd like to say I got it reinstalled successfully, but it's still sitting here wrapped in bubble wrap on the galley table of my floating home awaiting my attention. And as it's currently 4:45 a.m. and this vampire's insomnia is giving way to the greater threat of dawn, I'm going to leave you with this thought: it WILL be successfully reinstalled.

And if Sir Bats-in-the-Belfry ducky slippers and a beach bucket on his head (picture above) can do that, JUST IMAGINE what great things you NORMAL PEOPLE are capable of!


Friday, December 7, 2007

I stole a bag of weed because I love to snort cocaine

I enjoy the occasional funky "chain" email like the one I just got, the meat of which is below. What I DON'T DIG is the little voodoo curse threats they put at the end of these things that say if you don't send this to everyone you know you will, A: die of aggravated ingrown toe nails and consequent gangrene, or B: your whole world will collapse and in your sodden sorrow you will feed yourself to a wood chipper (ala Steve Buscemi). And I absolutely refuse to forward these fuckers on both despite and because of their heinous Haitian hubris. So, while we're on H-words then, HERE is the funny little word game minus the onus of you needing to pass it on.

>Pick the month you were born

1 (Jan) - I ate
2 (Feb) - I needed
3 (Mar) - I ran naked with
4 (Apr) - I ran shirtless with
5 (May) - I jumped
6 (June)- I smoked with
7 (July) - I killed
8 (Aug) - I banged
9 (Sept) - I shot
10 (Oct) - I robbed
11 (Nov) - I stabbed
12 (Dec) - I cuddled with

Pick the day (number) you were born on

01 - the trojan man
02 - a homeless guy
03 -a mop**
04 - A homo
05 - a dog
06 - A toothbrush
07 - my boyfriend
08 - my lover
09 - a rock star
10 - Paris Hilton
11 - a glass of milk
12 - a teletubby
13 - the kool-aid man
14 - a drunk
15 - a whore
16 - a pot head
17 - a bum
18 - a crack head
19 - a condom
20 - a stripper
21 - a porn star
22 - Barney the dinosaur
23 - the cookie monster
24 - a easter egg
25 -a hottie
26 - jezzy the snowman
27 - a bag of weed
28 - a french fry
29 - your mom
30 - a bowl of cereal
31 - your grandma

Pick the color of shirt you are wearing

White - because that Bitch stole my taco
Black - because I love marijuana
Pink - because I'm good in bed
Red - because I have AMAZING boobs
Brown- because I had to
Polka Dots - because I hate my life
Purple - because I'm gay
Grey - because I'm sexy like that
Other - because I have double D's
Green - because I love to snort cocaine.
Orange - because I smoked crack
Turquoise - because I have a noodle in my nose
Blue - because im the sexiest beast alive
Tye dye- because I didn't like the way they looked at me

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chelsea's Ode

Dear Friends,
Last week my friend Marilyn Dreampeace died. She left our world a few decades shy of what is generally considered old age. Her family, and we in the Art Car Family, indeed the whole of the living world, we all lost a person who, when pressed for words to describe her, this writer could only come up with Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove. I wrote a few more words than that in an attempted eulogy the day after she died, but not much before I gave up and buckled over my computer keyboard crying. Then a few days later, the most lovely words about Marilyn written by her granddaughter came my way via friends. I asked permission to post them here. Permission granted, I give you Chelsea's ode to Marilyn. (The "forward" is from Marilyn's husband, Shalom)

Marilyn (left) & her sister Sunshine

I got permission from Chelsea to pass on what she wrote in the minutes
after she was told her Grandmother had died.
No finer obituary has ever been written.
(I put Marilyn's final completed needlepoint into the mail to our
youngest great-nephew just 2 hours before Marilyn died.)
-- Shalom

hello family
tonight's date is november 25, 2007
at five thirty tonight we lost a loved one.
marilyn nelson. (dreampeace, compost)
she was my grandma and still is in heart,
she loved anyone she met
sure there were people she didn't necessarily agree with
but she had a huge heart
she taught me as well as others so much
marilyn worked for the people and with the people
in her off time she was attending peace rallies
and tending to her family life
i remember her smile and voice from last time i saw her
two weeks ago i arrived in santa cruz to visit her in the hospital
she was trying her best to remain calm and happy
the whole family had their concerns and thoughts
(i apologize right now for this email being so scrambled
but as many of you know i write in order to release me feelings)
some of us lost a sister, a wife, an aunt, a mother, a grandma,
a co-worker, a cousin, an anything
but we all lost a friend
a kind young hearted friend
she always put others before herself in acts of kindness
her actions consisted of honest from the heart things
such as letting me be the first to
paint the "come play with me" beemer
or supporting her three children with their life choices
marilyn took me under her wing for years
putting me through school and putting clothes on my back
when my own mother wasn't able to be there for me, marilyn was
when shalom had long stressful days at work
she would be there to talk to and give great advice
all these things from one woman
she wasn't just my grandma but my best friend, and the family knot.
every holiday we could count on going to marilyn's, everyone could
no matter if you were related by blood or not
she would welcome you with open arms
it's as if our family and her life were one of her needle point projects
every stitch so carefully thought out
and every color selected for a reason
but once she felt she had done her job well, the needle point stocking
would rest safely
not on a couch
not in a chair
not in the car
but in someones caring hands
to be forever treasured
that's what she did
she patched our family together
and once she trusted we could takeover
she left it in our hands
to be caring and responsible
so it is our job, as a family, to watch over this gift of love,
to not let it tear away
but to keep it and treasure it
not to mourn over the stitcher's hands being let off
but to have joy in what cradled us for so long.


Marilyn stumping for my new book at book signing in Houston
Photo by Frank Synopsis of the Flickr photo pool in Marilyn's memory

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Indy! May I call you Dad?

My friend Beatgirl put me up to this. Uh, okay. I should say she put me "on" to this. I just couldn't resist. Gee! Since replacing my 6-month deceased laptop a few weeks ago, I'm finding soooo many neato ways to piss away my time online! I LOVE IT! Who cares if I never finish "Dead Men" the sequel?

Seriously though, thank you, T. And for the record, I think you're a fine writer (anyone who reads as much as you couldn't help but be) and very lucky to live amongst the coho, the eagles, the Cascades and the Klingons. Also thanks to you, since I'm having such a hard time separating my online time from work on my next book, I think from now on I'm gonna limit my blog subject matter to the reading and spinning off of other people's blogs. There are soooooo many!


Harrison Ford!! Can you believe it? All these years I've been getting "Doc" from "Back to the Future," aka Christopher Lloyd. But now, thanks to, that curse is lifted. It's official! I am the secret love-child of Indiana Jones! (Probably from that one Nazi chick that both he and Sean Connery banged, remember?)

Can you believe Dad's putting out YET ANOTHER SEQUEL due out in late May 2008?

Oh, Dad, you rock!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Out of desire to lighten things up a bit after my foray into dark conspiratorial thought yesterday, I give you this, a fun little short video probably already posted somewhere on my website, but EVEN I CAN'T find my way through the labyrinth. This is a moment of fun in Steamboat Springs, a short break from my Continental Divide "Suicide Awareness Hot Hike" to Hunter S. Thompson's funeral in 2005. Thompson's funeral was the "high water mark" that became the opening chapter of my book "Dead Men Hike No Trails," my tale of survival over some 2700 miles hiking in the last vestiges of America's once-great and wild forests. Enjoy the video clip and read on!


Now if you thought that was fun, and you just happen to be one of them old fashioned type people who still read books in print, waste not a moment and get yourself a copy of "Dead Men Hike No Trails." Click to read all about it on, or go to if you prefer. Most of the same reviews are there.

"Dead Men" is about a hike, a really long hike inspired by suicidal behavior of another, less jovial kind than I demonstrated above with my no-brakes roar down the mountain. Does that scare you? Hmm. I have that effect on people sometimes on account of I don't b.s. around about subjects like depression and suicide, and I pretty much eviscerate myself with my harrowing confessional style of writing. And maybe you're not one of the 75 million Americans that suffer from one form of mental illness or another. Or maybe you are, and that's why the D-word and the S-word scare you. But don't be scared! With 75 million friends, you're in great company! And with all the crap being done to the forests of our country and of our minds, our natural and physical and social environments, our air, our water, our workplaces, our economy, no worries. You'll have a lot more friends over the coming years.

But hey! I promised to be light today. I don't mean to get heavy on you. I'm just having a deep, sardonic belly laugh at the state of the state of the State. Ha-HAAAAA! But seriously. It's a good book. Don't take my word for it. Read the reviews. Not ONE person has expressed anything but praise with the book after some 2000 copies sold. Check out this review I just got from a seasoned hiker in his late sixties or early seventies. I didn't think an old time hiker of the Appalachian Trail would dig my take on the trail and on life in America in general, but, well, here it is:

"Hey, GREAT book. I read it in one week, couldn't put it down. It's the BEST A.T. account of trail life I've ever read! Kudos to you! You really touched chords in me. I found I cried along with oyu at certain points; found I agreed with you with a RIGHT ON at other points; and I really dug the SURVIVE theme." - Red Wolf o' da Smokys

[Is their an Agent in the house? The author has collapsed onto the floor. Someone call an Agent! Quick! This man needs immediate medica.. er, representation!]


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fire On Me Gently

What to say?
What to say?
Another day
Uneasy in the U.S.A.
Queasy to the core
The government
That ten dollar whore
Blowing us down some dark alley
With all the world watching.

I'm ashamed of what's become of us!
Of where we're headed
And not just a little scared
(I'm willing to admit
Like John Lennon being tailed by the feds)
Of some new terrorist threat, real or Fox-fed & spun

And three, two, one..
Welcome to Martial Law, my fellow Americans!
We'll just nip that presidential election shit right in bud.

Because Mr. Bush doesn't NEED to give up the Presidency, no no!

Not when the nation's at threat
And you can bet if there's another 911 a-brewing
That old George W will turn the TV a blind eye
And let the planes, missiles, bombs a-fly
Until it's all over but the curfew
Security lock down, nationwide
Orange alert my ass-cid stomach upset
I see red skies at morning.

Americans, take warning.
The fuel is already aflame
And I'm uneasy
Queasy to the core
Because all they gotta do
Is pour on some more.


[Author's note: the preceding poem wasn't intended to be the song of doom that inevitably came out of me. I was actually just going to write some light little ditty to go with "Flameout," the very cool little movie shot and edited with style by my talented cousin Justin Alessandro. Created out of Justin's video capture of a little camp stove fuel accident on the Appalachian Trail in 2004, Flameout is fun & funny. I hope you'll take a minute now to click the link above and watch it for a little laugh and easing of the freakout vibe that strikes me whenever I ponder the eerie possibilities of our precarious position as a still-semi-free nation under God and GWB. Personally, I'm praying that God is our pilot, not, as the Christians are fond of saying, "my copilot."]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Matthewski, Manhattan, Jack & Me

I flew to the east coast last month from San Francisco for the fourth time this year to promote "Dead Men Hike No Trails" my from-the-gut roots and rock encrusted memoir of my hike of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. This time it was to Gettysburg for the annual gathering of ALDHA, the American Long Distance Hikers Association. And it was to be a tough gig.

I had quit taking anti-depressants for the first time in nearly a decade, and I wasn't feeling so hot. But I was hell bent on giving a presentation to this esteemed audience, a new spin on my usual rap about suicidal depression, the trigger reason behind my thruhike of the AT. Alas, I was also trying desperately not to drink, not even a little bit socially, as doing so grievously aggravates the unmedicated depressive mind. My mind, anyway. In my circles of friends, be it hikers or artists or whoever, saying NO to a drink is about as hard as, well, it's a bitch.

On the upside, I was in a generous mood thanks to dear friend and hiker Matthewski paying my airfare so I could afford to invest in a couple dozen copies of my book to sell. Matthewski has some kinda crazy faith in me, or the book, or both, that reminds me of my late friend James Hull's love of the book, or me, or both. Before his death in May of this year, James had likely read 100 per cent of the book several times, and hundreds of his favorite passages many, many more times, to the point of having them committed to memory.

So Matthewski's generosity freed me up to be generous with the books, which I was. I gave away free autographed copies to select seasoned hikers, people pointed out to me as having hiked 10, some of them 20 thousand miles of trail in the Americas and beyond.

To Pat & Vickey Kelly, owners of the hiker-beloved Doyle Hotel in Duncannon PA, I gave four copies for them to sell, about a $100 worth of retail. It was both a small token for a hotel so old and in need of repair and a pretty penny for me, money I should perhaps have earned selling and given Matthewski. But he never would have taken it. It felt good then, to help support what is every AT Thruhiker's favorite old hotel. Pat & Vickey thanked me as I went. Shouting over my shoulder as I walked out the door in haste for NYC, I said, "Thank Matthewski!"

Thanks mostly to my anti-depressant derailed brain, my lecture crashed and burned most miserably. For me, anyway. I had been working on it for days, had come up with so many cogent ideas and convincing points, but when the hour of my scheduled appearance arrived, I found myself woefully unable to organize my thoughts. It was a good thing the friendly faces of several friends dotted the audience, or I think I would have broke down in tears.

And then the weekend conference was over, and I was off to New York City. Longtime friend Mike Strickland had recently moved there to be with his beauty Cassie. I had a good tour guide and a cozy place to stay. And from all that came a poem.

If you read this poem, I highly suggest you go into it with the jazz beat cadence of poet Jack Kerouac ringing in your ears. Why? Because that's what I heard in my mind as I saw New York City and thumbed out the words on my Blackberry, almost word for word as you see them here. [This was my first ever thumb-written poem, and I imagine my last.]

Click below to see and hear Jack Kerouac. Close your eyes and listen to the beat. Then open them, scroll down, and when you're ready, read my off-the-cuff take on New York City, a lyrical poem, a piece of pure gonzo prosidy.


48 Hours In New York City With a Kerouac Jazz-riff Perspective

by Rick McKinney

New York City, Zang!
Wow! What! A! World!
Unto itself, and I, come into it a-new
One august-hot Monday afternoon in October
Laugh, gazing over ice skaters at Rockefeller Square and roar
Sarcasm unheard by most in din of city
"YEAH! Melt polar ice caps, melt!"

Just an hour before, yellow-blazing in
From Gettysburg where at the college I lectured and sold less books than ever
Refusing to sit a table and sign and instead attending the lectures of others and learning
Filling my brain and itchy dreamer’s feet with images and words of hikes the world over
Not caring for book sales, giving a few away in fact to great old hikers
Men and women with ten, 20 thousand miles under their backpack cinch straps

Now with hiker "EZ" at the wheel thru PA and Jersey into
Sight of Lady Liberty and lord! what a rush of
Emotions at first-ever sight of holy grail of America-she,
Her newly refurbished gown and flame bright in tilt of rolling Earth away from Sun.
Then, fwoop! A fast dive thru tollgate of Holland Tunnel and un-der-wa-ter to the island
Bought for a string of beads. Manhattan! Manhattan! Pop!

And deftly dropped by Brookly-born & long & colorful
New York life-lived "EZ"
Curbside in Greenwich Village where waitress Jessica waited often on him to one day be gone and be-come Lange.
Brief decent into sultry subway, then OUT!
Into half-light of skyscraper canyon streets.
It's Radio City Music Hall and old friend from high school Mike meets me,
Stows my bag in office and direct to MOMA we go.

[momentary break in cadence]

In the museum I think it's funny, the scene around Starry Night
All people crowding the space four or five feet back from the canvas Vincent touched, snapping photos they could get off the Internet
instead of LOOKING at it and in-to it

At all the dense clumps
of oil painted color,
At the bare canvas behind.
This latter I do.
And this requires assuming an intimacy with the work, getting in close, close enough to make the guards nervous,
but worse the people who,
by dint of silly human nature, become embarrassed on your behalf, get nervous for you. Ha! Let them, I think, and so..
I drink the blue dew of Vincent's night
Marvel at swirling strokes of brush & pallet knifed-paint, peek in windows brightly lit, My nose nearly to the museum glass, the latter
Requisite I guess to protect this,
The only Starry Night on Earth.
All prints and photos of this painting cannot show
I seek and see with naked eye and love it.

Now comes what I've waited for all my life, or so it feels.
For though I have not daily thought of it, and never did it hold the greatness of dreams,
A short and street-bound grounded tour of Manhattan three years ago left me wanting.
So now, with pull and push of elevator cables & weights it's whooooosh!
Up with the gods, we leave the Earth with eerie ease.
Sixty-seven floors up in the Rockefeller Center the doors open and with them New York,
Still thus far the center of the World, to us anyway.
We here in America, where many think with good reason the dream is dead
But where in truth it's right in front of you, always,
Eternally burning in precise proportion to your own desire.

Anyway, the sun sets with requisite splendor and in the short time it takes for me to go from west to east side of building, to catch a glimpse of Uptown and Central Park
Flash! Wow! Back around now staring west where someone has flipped a switch and all the lights of city grand are on and it’s a rainbow of towering industry and just across the way the flashes of tourist cameras pop and pop again from balcony of Empire State.

Down below and stomach growling
Mike says pick something and here
In New York City, it ain’t like you lack for choices
So I pick Ukranian and Mike wavers, skeptical, but seems to grock that pizza won’t do
So meat and potatoes it is and old world hospitality,
Sweet waitress with thick Slavic accent.

Back at Mike’s we open all the windows
But tonight the city’s an oven, all of it, unseasonably warm
But somehow, for non-native New Yorker me, the heat thrills.
Not normally one for TV, nor a follower of sports at all
I luck into the Yankees fatal playoff blow & Dallas’ one-second comeback win,
All in a matter of an hour before we retire for the night.

Next day we walk ‘cross the famed Brooklyn Bridge
Staring through the wooden slats underfoot at the passage of cars, water, time.
Meditative in the cool gray morning, yesterday’s heat a distant memory now with light drizzle coming and jackets donned
I invent a slogan in my head: “The Brooklyn Bridge, as seen in
(insert the name of any movie filmed in New York City here)”

Visiting Ground Zero I am lost for meaning.
Try and try and all I see is a sad construction site
Sad only because I know what was there, and what now isn’t
Sad because of all the death perhaps but more sad that I cannot attach meaning to what I see, sad because the events of 9-11 don’t touch me here, don’t connect to this place.
Sad as I suddenly realize I am standing beside the newly built Tower 7 rocketing skyward beside me when some guy with thick New York accent says, “One year. It took em one year to put that up. Can you believe that?”
And six years later, shrouded in green and black wrapped chain-link fence as though in shame for slow progress, a crater.
Nothing more.

Across the street at St. Paul's I get more of a feel for that grim day
But it’s a warm feeling here in the chapel where the fireman slept in all their gear
On pews left scuffed immemorial
Every corner of the church that withstood the collapse across the street a reliquary
Table, nooks, alcoves all full of pictures and letters, testaments to loss and love and life.
Yes, here I am touched by Ground Zero but not to tears
Tears fell then and often since, but not today.
Today is my day to suck deep the marrow of this city, albeit fast, but to take it all in
As a writer should, encapsulating, if possible the density of it all into a haiku if need be.

In Central Park I let my film-nut feathers show
I want to see the rock, I say to a bewildered Mike
What rock? He wants to know.
You know the one, the one they’re always sitting on in movies
Once in the park I realize how many piles of rocks there are and relent.
We find a deli, order out and climb up one for lunch.

I have just one more wish
One more thing I want to see, and it’s the Plaza
For half my life I’ve known of the Plaza Hotel
First told to me in gossamer-wrapped memories
By mentor Chris who first called me writer
She who worked there long ago as Conrad Hilton’s personal assistant
And saw it all. And it was much. Tales, some tall perhaps but all based in real life of movie stars and royalty, a dance with a prince that lasted to her death at 80. It was her moment, her time, holding the fort for Hilton during WWII. And if you believe in Heaven, as I do, she’s there still, dancing with the prince on feet that never tire.

But therein lies the rub for me, the melancholy end of things.
That Chris died years before my long-envisioned wish to take her there
Take her back to her beloved Plaza on royalties, all expenses paid by me from the sale of the best-selling novel that never was. The corrupt publisher bankrupt and imprisoned, Chris ten years dead, and now the dream a seeming impossibility forever more as I stand outside this castle now caged in scaffold, unable even to enter the lobby and feel the presence there, her spirit.
And the word on the street says she is no more and tomorrow will be condos.

I turn away from her then and stare at Central Park, dumb at last.
And Mike, in his haste and well-earned stress of all his generous tour-guiding
Tacks off numbers, counts down from five when I do not answer his query: what next?
What next, indeed. I don’t know. I hear his haste, read frustration in his face.
Too bad, I think. Too bad.
For all I wanna do is sit on marbled steps of castle, of Plaza-no-more, and grieve a moment, for Chris, for characters I’ve written into life then left alone in purgatory of prose unpublished/unread, for this, for this, for this. I think of Chris.

That night it’s dinner uptown
Some Italian restaurant, fancy
With Cassie, a beauty Mike met scuba diving in a New Jersey quarry
Who now holds his hand over railing of descending stairs, down into the underground
And twirls in fingers long and lovely the pull string of his sweater hood
Little things that bespeak love, the kind of love I have lucky had
Now want to have again, all the more as I watch them together
And hope they stay – that - way.

Next morning and final hours in Manhattan
I spend my time in MOMA, a twenty dollar entry fee
Now twice free by dint of Mike’s corporate pass from AOL
And walking through lobby of another Rockefeller Tower,
The one that Mike works in,
I catch a familiar face out the corner of my eye
“Larry?” I ask, but the face is unforgettable
It’s the face of early 21st century abandonment art, of participatory art
Larry and his signature hat.
And so it is. In a city of 12 million I bump by happenstance into Larry Harvey.

Larry and Marian and Harley, the triad top of the Burning Man power pyramid.
(Or some such corporate nomenclature that does not now nor ever has held my interest.)
We chat briefly, me knowing them full well from 12 years attendance, their recognition of me hazy at best.
Such is glamor and fame, I guess.
No matter. Serendipity has a glow of its own.
And so I walk off glowing, knowing full well who I am.
Full of all the magic that is this mad city
Known once to me only in movies
Now known for sounds like a subway train’s grinding screech
And smells of fresh-cooked everything and perfume of passersby
Of touch of stone and glass rising skyward to forever and ever

[same cadence, slowed waaaay down..]

Yet mostly, mostly, to me
New - York - City will next time
likely once more be
A movie
come – to – life – a - gain.

(Special thanks to Michael Strickland for his photo, "Starry-Eyed")

Friday, October 26, 2007


Happy Birthday to Me. Yeah, that's right. I turn five today. Or turned. As of 2:10 a.m. EST, I was born in Salem Massachusetts long, long ago. Forty one years ago. And as I was recently taught by friends to reckon it: 4 + 1 = 5. So I am five.

This is where Rick McKinney begins and Jigglebox ends. Or Gonzo ends and mayhem begins. Or, something like that.

Half of everyone I have ever met has aspired to my occupation. I remember the day when I used to boldly claim "I AM WRITER!" just to hear myself say it and hope it be true. Well, now I really am a writer, a paid professional all that. However, I'm now ever more the mental case for having "made it" yet not made it because I find myself buried beneath a slush pile now exponentially increased in size, an avalanche of "authorism" disheartening to behold. Now, ever since some cyberdingdong put together the words "web" and "log," the ENTIRE OTHER HALF of the world's population has jumped on the blogwagon.

Now, if the Internet is anything to believe..


Well, congratulations to you all. I commend you and applaud you and invite you all to toss your dime store mortarboards in the air! Whoo-hooo!

Pay no attention to the man kicking you in the groin whilst your heads are tossed back in graduated glee. It's just me, getting my just desserts. It's only fair. After all, you've all put me out of business, haven't you? If EVERYONE IS A WRITER now, ipso facto ergo blah blah, I AM OUT OF A JOB!

Thank you very little, world. If I had the time, I line you all up to kiss my ass and have my assistant pass out cookies. Oh, wait! I no longer have an assistant because I AM OUT OF A JOB!

Today is MY BIRTHDAY and this is MY PARTY and I'm pulling OFF THE AIR for the day to enunciate my sincere loathing for every Tom, Dick and CyberJane who think they can write BETTER than me or BE a writer INSTANTLY, JUST ADD BLOGGER! (Excepting of course ALL of MY friends and anyone blogging who can ACTUALLY write:-))

You suck.

So suck this and Jiggle me that. I'm off to the October 27th, 2007 "End The War Now!" rally in San Francisco today.

My good buddy Tom Kennedy and I will no doubt run into ole George W and Tiny Dick C, have a little tea with the boys, work things out, you know. And when we've solved the Pentagon's penchant for whaling on small nations full of darkies, I'm gonna see if I can't get my exec & chief and his homies to toss me a special 41th birthday present. Should be a cinch with all these new anti-terrorist laws in effect and such. I'm not gonna ask for much, just the illegalization of FREE SPEECH FOR IDIOTS from the OLE WWW! The World Wide Web, cleansed of idiot banter once and for all so that WE, THE ELITE AND WELL-HUNG, er, TRAINED WRITERS may again practice our craft without sharing headline space with trailer trash with double digit I.Q.s. Right.

This is We rule and you know it. If you don't, again I say, it's my party and...


RSM Lord Duke

[Postscript 11-27]: Have a sense of HUMOR my dears! I certainly have to! With all the rejection I've dealt with in over two decades at this gig, rejection from agents who shitcan my queries unread because I'M A NOBODY, I'd be dead if I couldn't laugh. Or make fun. Which is mostly what this entry was. A silly tantrum rich with scowling, pouting, its-my-birthday sarcasm. Now, be of good cheer, you sensitive & sincere. As they say, the cream will rise to the top. If you're not one of the aforementioned idiots, then you've nothing to be worried or offended about! Love ya;-)

Click HERE to check out the most awesomest unsung site of genius on the web!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Paris Hilton Visits Jutland
(& other 5-star beaver stories)

Had my head buried in Paris Hilton's box..
uhh, sandbox..
I mean the sand for some time. Jeezus, whaz it been? Six months? A year? How long's it take for an old life to die, and yer best friend with it?

Moved to Oakland, CA and bought a sailboat. Lived on it awhile, traded my old BMW for some of the equity, then bought another one. Now I have two. Figger I'll collect a dozen or so, tie em all off on a mooring in the Oakland estuary right 'round where Jack London sat drinkin' and crafting the tales that made him the first millionaire writer in the new America, then sell em all in trade for "Jeliza-Rose," she who will take me across the Pacific, the boat as yet to be named for novelist Mitch Cullen's character expertly portrayed by Jodelle Ferland (pictured above) in Terry Gilliam's latest film. She'll be something in the forty foot range, something capable of taking me and a crew of two across blue water to Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Jutland, who knows.

For now, as a test of whether or not anyone monitors this site
anymore, two things:

One, give me yer thoughts on the new Terry Gilliam film "Tideland" via my spam-invincible email address or.. ya know, the
other one, the one I only give out to family and friends and readers
who've proven their fealty to Lord Duke, Inc.

And two, here's a bizzaro offer I stumbled upon that's sure to
stimulate some response from ya'll by a truly bold and curvaceous
anti-space alien theorist way out there in the Earthmos.

Read up. And write on.

Gott Verdammt!

photo: I will always love you, Stormy Turner
For more shots of Stormy, go here:

By the way, Paris, I saw your videos and they are, well, lame. I mean, don't get me wrong, I can TOTALLY relate to your exhibitionist tendencies and well, if I had tits and a twat, I'd wanna be you. But I ain't you. I don't have tits or a twat, but I'm ONE HELLUVA EXHIBITIONIST! Damn, girl, at least get some better videographer boyfriends. I got this friend Harrod Blank, (he calls me Cindy, like Cindy Crawford, cuz he KNOWS I Looooove The Camera) who is a real sweetheart & stand-up guy and who would DO YOU RIGHT, HONEY CHILD! Well, until we talk again, you know, the offer's open. - RSM