NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Haggard’s biographer Marc Eliot about his book: The Hag. Haggard spent his early years going from family tragedy to odd jobs to broken marriages to petty crime to prison.


The definitive biography of country legend Merle Haggard by the New York Times bestselling biographer of Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, The Eagles, and more.

Merle Haggard was one of the most important country music musicians who ever lived. His astonishing musical career stretched across the second half of the 20th Century and into the first two decades of the next, during which he released an extraordinary 63 albums, 38 that made it on to Billboard’s Country Top Ten, 13 that went to #1, and 37 #1 hit singles. With his ample songbook, unique singing voice and brilliant phrasing that illuminated his uncompromising commitment to individual freedom, cut with the monkey of personal despair on his back and a chip the size of Monument Valley on his shoulder, Merle’s music and his extraordinary charisma helped change the look, the sound, and the fury of American music.

The Hag tells, without compromise, the extraordinary life of Merle Haggard, augmented by deep secondary research, sharp detail and ample anecdotal material that biographer Marc Eliot is known for, and enriched and deepened by over 100 new and far-ranging interviews. It explores the uniquely American life of an angry rebellious boy from the wrong side of the tracks bound for a life of crime and a permanent home in a penitentiary, who found redemption through the music of “the common man.”

Merle Haggard’s story is a great American saga of a man who lifted himself out of poverty, oppression, loss and wanderlust, to catapult himself into the pantheon of American artists admired around the world. Eliot has interviewed more than 100 people who knew Haggard, worked with him, were influenced by him, loved him or hated him. The book celebrates the accomplishments and explore the singer’s infamous dark side: the self-created turmoil that expressed itself through drugs, women, booze, and betrayal. The Hag offers a richly anecdotal narrative that will elevate the life and work of Merle Haggard to where both properly belong, in the pantheon of American music and letters.

The Hag is the definitive account of this unique American original, and will speak to readers of country music and rock biographies alike.


LISTEN· 17:50

Monday marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Below is a transcript of his celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. NPR’s Talk of the Nation aired the speech in 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders gather before a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington.National Archives/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. 


Magic Ebbs From Colombian Town That Informed an Author’s Work ~ ARACATACA JOURNAL ~ NYT


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A shrine for Gabriel García Márquez, a Nobel Prize winner, in the writer’s hometown of Aracataca, which served as the model for the fictitious town of Macondo in “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

ARACATACA, Colombia — Beyond the cellphone stores and the motorcycles buzzing like flies in the 100-degree heat, the hometown of Gabriel García Márquez still has some magic in it.

It is still a place where dilapidated wooden houses hide shady gardens that hint at furtive mysteries, where a 96-year-old woman gets her toenails painted pink and keeps songbirds in cages, and where squealing children swim in irrigation canals flowing beside sun-blasted streets.

Mr. García Márquez, the Nobel Prize-winning writer who died at age 87 on Thursday, will be remembered at a memorial service in Mexico City on Monday, attended by the presidents of Colombia and Mexico and cultural luminaries (though perhaps none who shines as brightly as Mr. García Márquez, who has been called the most famous writer on the planet).

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Mr. García Márquez left this dusty town when he was still a boy, but he later reached back to his time here as the source for his greatest work, defined by a style known as magical realism. Aracataca became the model for Macondo, the town that serves as the stage for his masterwork, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
Most of his time here was spent in the home of his maternal grandparents, where he soaked up the stories told by his grandmother and other relatives. He said that it was his grandmother’s matter-of-fact way of telling the most fantastic stories that inspired the narrator’s voice in “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Now the site of his grandparents’ home, where he was born and which fed the vibrant world of his fiction, has been turned into a tidy museum. Parts of the original wood home remained until a few years ago, but that was all knocked down and rebuilt, according to the museum director, Daniel López.

In its place is a neat, whitewashed structure that in some ways resembles a Swiss chalet more than the local wood architectural style it is meant to mimic.

Much of Mr. García Márquez’s adult life was spent in Mexico, where he died last Thursday. He was cremated and the Colombian ambassador to Mexico said that a portion of his ashes would be brought home to Colombia, although it was not clear where they would reside.


“Repo Man” quotes ~ with Harry Dean Stanton

If you haven’t seen this film then set down and join the cult, if you have better watch it again.


“ Repo man is always intense.”

An ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations. Bud (Harry Dean)


“A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ‘n things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate o’ shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o’ shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.” Miller


“The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.” Miller


“Look at those assholes, ordinary fucking people. I hate ’em.” Bud


“- Duke: The lights are growing dim Otto. I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.
– Otto: That’s bullshit. You’re a white suburban punk just like me.
– Duke: Yeah, but it still hurts.”


“Good evening, Otto. This is Agent Rogersz. I’m going to ask you a few questions. Since time is short and you may lie, I’m going to have to torture you. But I want you to know, it isn’t personal.” Agent Rogersz


“You like music, listen to this. I was into these dudes before anyone. Wanted me to be their manager. I called bullshit on that. Managing a pop group is no job for a man.”


“- Otto: I’m a repo man.
– Leila: What’s that?
– Otto: It’s a repossessor, I take back cars from dildos who don’t pay their bills. Cool, huh?
– Leila: No.”


“You ever feel as if your mind had started to erode?”


I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let that vehicle or the personal contents thereof come to harm. It’s what I call the Repo Code, kid. Don’t forget it–etch it in your brain. Not many people got a code to live by anymore. Bud


I don’t allow no Commies in my car…no Christians, either. Bud


“- Lagarto: Hermanos Rodriguez do not approve of drugs.
– Marlene: Neither do I, but it’s my birthday.”


“- Debbi: Duke, let’s go do some crimes.
– Duke: Yeah. Let’s go get sushi and not pay.”


“Don’t care how long it takes, dildos! Repo Man’s got all night, every night.” Bud


“- Bud: Credit is a sacredtrust, it’s what our free society is founded on. Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia? I said, do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia?
– Otto: They don’t pay bills in Russia, it’s all free.
– Bud: All free? Free my ass. What are you, a fuckin’ commie? Huh?
– Otto: No, I ain’t no commie.
– Bud: Well, you better not be. I don’t want no commies in my car. No Christians either.”

~~~ Repo Man (1984) – Original Theatrical Trailer ~~~

“Not just a job, it’s an adventure.” Original Theatrical Trailer to the 1984 punk cult classic Repo Man. Starring Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Olivia Barash, and Tracey Walter. Written and directed by Alex Cox.



~~~ WATCH ~~~


Peter Lev’s recounting of The East Greeley


Jerry, that video of the East Greeley avalanche is sure getting around. Here is a story for you; my first yr at Alta, back in the day when the FS Snow Rangers, Binx and me, had to personally ‘open’ each run (because Chic Morton, Alta Manager would not let the ski patrol be involved), so after shooting EG with the 75 recoilless from Albion (since removed) we go out to ski it. Me being the new kid, as we stand at top of short chute into EG, Binx says ‘Go ck it out’. Slide slip down the entry chute and I head for a tree about 60ft away. The slope fractures 30 ft above me. Am on 7ft+ Head Flexibles and I jump them around to get them facing downhill in the now moving snow. Binx claims I waved ‘Goodby’. Don’t know if true or not, but it should be. The crown length was about half of the one in your posted video. Anyway, found I could stabilize by almost sitting on my heels and outriggimg my poles. Was not too far from the skiers left edge of the slide, so managed to get to it, shoot out of the slide and stand up. Without a break I made turns next to the slide down to the bench above Glory Hole where the debris stopped. The patrol on the lift was cheering. Would never have been able to pull this off with modern short skis.



Richard & I remember when Peter Lev came to Silverton at the very beginning of the San Juan Avalanche Project as a consultant, we were awed by how he made perfect linked turns on wooden skis with probably no side cut. He made it look so easy. All the best to all of you,
Betsy Armstrong

Betsy with her admirers


Thanks Jerry for passing this on.  When I was on the Alta patrol in 1964 I went out with the FS boys every opportunity I could.  That was a big winter in the canyon and Albion Basin was closed much of the time.  I was tagging along with the Forest Snow Rangers when they were headed to East Greely with some two and a half pound Tetrotol. eplosives for the bowl.  It turned out to be largest avalanche I had seen at that time with hand thrown explosives.  A great learning experience for me.  In those days Alta was a superb training ground for young neophytes.
Rod Newcomb

Rod visiting his old INSTAAR work site in the San Juans.