My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Every Thanksgiving we go to visit my Mother-in-Law in Richmond.  Sarah’s mom is down there by herself so we stay in a hotel over by the state Capital and go to dinner at the Tobacco Company.  We also found a really great French Country restaurant there.  Erin loves Fountain books and City dogs (hot dog joint) is right next door.  Love it.  It’s really, in my humble opinion, the best part of Richmond.  Someday I’d like to go there when the GA is in session and see how much different it is.  There’s actually a place there where you can get an old-school, proper shave.

This year, they are filming a movie about Lincoln on the grounds of the GA.  They’ve built a portico (I’d guess you’d call it) on the back side of the building out of plywood but with the spray paint and plaster it looks real.  My opinion is that we should build it for real.  I’ve always loved every aspect of the Capital building except the back.  I’m not an architect but the back of that building looks unfinished to me.  Certainly not as elegant in any respect.

In any event, one of the things I do when I travel is read.  I don’t usually blow the opportunity to get out and see the area but I will hole up with a book in the evening or read it on the trip down.  Sarah is our wheel-(wo)man so I’ve got time to read in the car if it doesn’t give me a headache.

On this trip I read “Fear & Loathing ins Las Vegas”.  I was going to try to do some analysis and write a real review but I’ma tell you up front it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever bothered to read.  Yeah, the stories are kinda funny but the 2 or 3 moments of clarity in the book – the wave speech is great – aren’t worth the 300 pages of cruft you have to sort through to get to them.  It isn’t that I disbelieve that some form of this story actually happened.  I’m sure it did but the devices just get old.  “As your attorney I advise you to eat an acid blotter” is funny the first 10 times.  I know it’s a product of the times and Thompson was a nut but I don’t think it ages well.

For my money, a book of Thompson’s that I read awhile ago that is much better (if still filled with drugs, alcohol and violence): The Rum Diaries.  The writing style isn’t that much different and the story is still fairly gonzo but I feel like it’s somewhat more plausible fiction.  The stories in F&L remind me of meeting up with my frat brothers and we all “1-up” each other until one of us is relating a tale of actual, unassisted human flight.  I’m glad I downloaded it on the iPad for cheap and don’t have to store it on a shelf….


  1. Here are 12 local writers with recent/new/about to be released books, so shop local this holiday season:

    1. Robert Bausch, “In the Fall They Come Back”
    2. Carole Bellacera, “Tango’s Edge”
    3. Mignon Broughton, “Hidden Voice: Revelations of a Young Soul”
    4. Carol Covin, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”
    5. Katherine Gotthardt, “Approaching Felonious Park”
    6. Sheila R. Lamb, “Once A Goddess”
    7. Marvin Josaitis, “Pennies from a Heav’n”
    8. Stacia D. Kelly, PhD, “Muse: The art of tapping into your creativity”
    9. Nancy S. Kyme, “Memory Lake”
    10. Ross Murphy, “Dancing with Devils”
    11. D. Cullen Nolan, “Spy in the House of Fitzwalter”
    12. Becky Sheetz-Runkle, “Sun Tzu for Women”

    (Yes, Mignon is one of the four AmeriCorps VISTAs working with the residents of Georgetown South — a voice helping others find their voices. To quote Dr. Angelou, “You may write me down in history, with your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt, But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”)

    As for “Lincoln,” I’d like to see Steven Spielberg and other filmmakers choose Manassas as a shooting location. Here’s how the City is marketed on the Virginia Film Office website (with the county listed as “Manassas Park County”:

  2. Andrew Beverage

    December 3, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I feel obligated to point out that picture 11252 on Cindy’s link (second row, second from the top) is of the Prescott House of much discussion and debate here in the City. Given the debate, it’s interesting that the Virginia Film Office is using an image that very house to advertise our city to filmmakers.

    Also, I can share “mislabelings” of my own like of the City on VFO’s website. When I was in the Guest Scholar Program at OHS, all of us had to take a special section of GMU’s University 100 class (think college orientation) just for us and the instructor thought we were from “Manassas County Schools. ” In the local press, I’ve seen “Prince William County Hospital” instead of Prince William Hospital many times and this past week I saw “Prince William County’s Adult Detention Center” instead of Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center (we have a regional jail, not a county jail, there is a difference- FFX has a county jail for comparison). Finally back during the illegal immigration debates (the first ones back when the City and the County were first considering resolutions) I would see stories on the news talking about the County, not the City, but what did they show videos of? Old Town Manassas City. I just shake my head at these “mislabelings”…

    Anyway, on-topic, if you’re into history, I can recommend any book published by Stackpole Books. I have bought many over the years and enjoyed each one (granted in their German military history books, you might notice an odd typo here and there due to the translation from German to English no doubt).

  3. In the Va Film Office/scout a location slide show, isn’t photo ID #:1347543 a shot of the area that is now a pedestrian walkway beside the railroad tracks? I forget what Old Town looked like before the Harris Pavilion, museum, parking deck, Battle Streetscape, etc.

  4. We cut the cable a few months back. I have always been a reader,1 book a week or so, but now I’m really hitting it. Of late, I have been reading Civil War memoirs. I just finished “Hardtack and Coffee” and “One of Stonewall’s Foot Cavalry”. Just started a book written by one of Mosbey’s partisan raiders. Also, started a series of essays on “The Great War”, and the collected works of Alfred Thayer Mahon. Mix of traditional print and kindle books. And of course, there’s a nightly scripture reading, and bedtime stories with Addison. She and I read the Wizard of Oz, and are now working through “Through the Looking Glass: Alice in Wonderland”.

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