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Augustus Owsley Stanley III: 1935-2011

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

Jack Briggs

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Posted March 15 2011 - 07:39 AM

Most of you have no idea who this man was. But for those of us who were kicking along in the 1960s, Augustus Owsley Stanley III enjoyed nearly demigod status. And his legacy is with us to this day.

Not only that, but the major newspapers are running their obits today (the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, etc.).

Who was he?

On the surface, the man (nicknamed "Bear") created a wall-of-sound audio system for a San Francisco band that he largely financed. You've heard of the band: the Grateful Dead. In addition, he helped create the band's iconic skull-and-lightning-bolt logo, a counterculture classic.

More than that, though, he was, shall we say, San Francisco's leading organic chemist during the 1960s, and produced some of the cleanest, most powerful examples of d-lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate available from 1965 through 1968 -- Blue Cheer, Mighty Quinn, and other righteous tabs. (Contrary to conventional wisdom, he was not responsible for a later run of LSD known as Orange Sunshine, but whatever.)

Intellectually, Owsley Stanley was formidable. He did, however, have some quirks. Among them, and most unusually from someone who could be described as a "hippie," he was a ravenous carnivore. (He actually believed that being forced to eat brocolli in childhood led to a heart attack.) And in his final decades, he lived in Australia, believing that it was the only continent that could be considered "safe" while industrial pollution choked off the northern hemisphere. Well, what can one say? Stanley wasn't perfect.

At any rate, the man died this past weekend as the result of an automobile crash. He is survived by his wife and four children and numerous grandchildren (and even great-grandchildren).

Mr. Stanley, it can be argued (as does the Los Angeles Times today), enjoyed an importance among leading lights of the 1960s; he was every bit as influential as Ken Keysey, Timothy Leary, and others. And many of us will miss him.

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Dheiner



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Posted March 16 2011 - 05:48 AM

On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene
But yours was kitchen clean
Everyone stopped to stare at your technicolor motor home
Every A-Frame had your number on the wall
You must have had it all
You'd go to L.A. on a dare
And you'd go it alone
Could you live forever
Could you see the day
Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away

Get along, get along Kid Charlemagne
Get along Kid Charlemagne


The Green Bay Packers
13-Time National Football League Champions: 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1996, & 2010

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