The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sparky: Space Beckons

Space X's Elon writes to Space Cadet Sparky:

Launch Date
The new launch date is approximately December 20, depending on when the Missile Defense Agency testing is complete. As soon as we have a firm time, it will be posted on the SpaceX website:

Liquid Oxygen
Regarding liquid oxygen (LOX) supplies, we expect to have enough on hand this time to fill the rocket four or five times over. This should account for almost any issue with a particular storage tank as well as an extended hold on the pad. There is an engineering term known as a s*load. I have asked that we have at least two s*loads on hand in case one s*load is not enough.

We chartered a C-17 to fly two of our empty high quality LOX containers to Hawaii, sourced another high quality LOX container on Hawaii and put all three on the barge to Kwajalein. In addition, our LOX plant on Kwajalein has been repaired and is producing LOX on island again.

Some might be wondering why we were so dumb as to run out of LOX on a remote tropical island on the last launch attempt. Believe me, we tried hard to avoid it, but several issues conspired to create the problem:

  • The additional month of Merlin testing resulted in additional LOX boil-off on island. Even though it is stored in vacuum jacketed containers, LOX at -300F degrees does not like being on a tropical island at 85F.
  • The SpaceX LOX plant on island broke down a few weeks prior to launch, which meant we could not top up.
  • We ordered replacement LOX from Hawaii, but the container quality was poor, so only 20% of what we ordered actually arrived.
  • Ground winds were unusually high on launch day, which amplifies the boil-off rate significantly, since the Falcon's first stage LOX tank is uninsulated.
  • All of the above would not have mattered if our final storage tank did not have a small, manual vent valve incorrectly in the open position. Somewhat agonizingly, we were only a few percent away from being full. We just needed a little sip from the last tank.
  • After a while, we were able to close the vent and fill the vehicle's LOX tanks. However, we use LOX to chill our onboard helium and the absence of ground LOX to do so resulted in the helium heating up and venting back to storage. In the end, we did not have enough LOX to stay filled on the rocket and chill & pressurize the helium.
Engine Computer
The engine computer reboot anomaly was definitively traced to a ground power problem. Importantly, this would have had no effect on flight, since we switch to vehicle power before the autosequence begins. The reason it cropped up at Kwajalein was that the higher load on the longer umbilical (three times longer than in prior tests) coupled with high temperatures in Kwajalein resulted in increased resistance in the ground umbilical. This was just enough to lower the voltage below minimums and cause an engine computer reset when drawing maximum power. The same max power test was repeated on internal vehicle batteries with no problem at all.

This problem has been solved by slightly increasing voltage on the ground umbilical.

- Sparky

Sparky - Faux Japanese Geishas Get A Rise

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
is a novel by Arthur Golden published in 1997. The novel tells the story of a geisha working in Kyoto during World War II. It is also the name of an upcoming (as of 2005) film based on the book, and directed by Rob Marshall, and starring Zhang Ziyi.



Memoirs of a Geisha tell the story of a geisha known as Nitta Sayuri, who lives in New York as a hostess to Japanese businessmen. Sayuri reveals that in beginning that as a child she was known as Sakamoto Chiyo, the daughter of a fisherman in a small village in Japan. Soon after her mother dies, she and her older sister are taken to Gion by one of the more well off men in her village. Her sister is sold to a brothel and Chiyo is sold to a okiya, a house for geisha.

With her unusual blue-grey eyes, Chiyo is to train to become a geisha, but is constantly antagonized by Hatsumomo, the top geisha of the Nitta okiya. Hatsumomo cannot stand competition and recognizes that Chiyo will more than rival her if she becomes a geisha. Chiyo's life goes from bad to worse thanks to Hatsumoro is and is reduced to becoming a servant in the okiya with no hope of becoming a geisha.

A chance encounter with a kind and wealthy man with the title of chairman (here after known to Chiyo as the Chairman) changes her fortune. Chiyo wins the eye of the most successful geisha in Gion, Mameha, who is despised by Hatsumomo because she outshines her in every aspect and cannot be toppled because, unlike Hatsumomo, Mameha has earned her independance as a geisha. She adopts Chiyo as her apprentice and trains Chiyo to rival Hatsumomo. Her entrance into apprenticeship is marked being given a new name, Sayuri.

With her success and her virginity sold, Sayuri not only becomes a highly successful geisha, she manages to pay off all the debts that bound her to the Nitta okiya when she was a servant and also is adopted by the mistress of the okiya. While Sayuri's fortunes seem to soar, even now that she has finally broken free of Hatsumomo's abuse, everything collaspes in 1932 because of war.

During her time as a geisha before the war, she encounters the Chairman again, but finds it impossible to get close to him as she desires. Instead, she findself constantly being pushed to be with Nobu, the Chairman's most trusted friend. It is Nobu that saves Sayuri from the harsh labour of the war until Gion is able to open again on the condition that she will allow him to become her patron, despite it is the Chairman she desires. Sayuri and Mameha destroy Hatsumomo's reputation entirely thereafter and Hatsumomo is thrown out of the okiya.

However, it is not until Sayuri's desire to be the Chairman truly frees her to pursue her own destiny. When Chairman frees her from the okiya to become his mistress, she setting up a posh teahouse for Japanese businessmen in New York so that he may save face in Japan when his daughter is about to marry a man set to be the Chairman's heir.


Stop! The neutrality of this section is disputed.

After the novel was published, Arthur Golden was sued by the geisha (Mineko Iwasaki) with whom he worked, for defamation and breach of contract. According to the plaintiff, the agreement was supposed to be total anonymity for the main character of his story. This was because there is a code of silence among the geisha community and breaking that code is a serious offense. Once the plaintiff's name was printed in the book, she received numerous death threats and requests of censure for dishonoring her profession. However, she opted to sue Golden for putting her name in the novel. In 2003, Iwasaki and Golden settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money, though reports suggested that it was quite substantial.

One issue that Iwasaki never mentioned in public, but became quite clear after she published her own biography, Geisha of Gion, was how closely Memoirs of a Geisha mirrored her own life. Indeed, many of the main characters all corresponded to people she knew or was close to. But such characters, nasty and bitter as they were in Memoirs of a Geisha, were actually very kind to her in real life. When Sayuri enters the teahouse, she is treated like a slave. But in real life, Iwasaki was shown much love and attention, given a very privileged position. "Sourpuss" was actually a sister that she developed a close relationship with, and "Nobu" was a lover that she cared deeply for. Though she could never have said it in public (a traditional Japanese woman would not share her inner-most, personal feelings), Golden's book would have been like reading a warped version of perfectly happy events in her past. She had opened up to Golden, and he had broken her confidence to write a one-off bestseller.

Film Adaptation

A movie adaptation of the novel, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Rob Marshall, is under production as of 2005, and is planned for release on December 23, 2005. It will star Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh and Suzuka Ohgo. Though Watanabe and Kudoh are Japanese, Zhang, Gong and Yeoh are all, in fact, of Chinese descent. Suzuka Ohgo plays the younger Sayuri in the film.

Casting controversy

Stop! The neutrality of this section is disputed.
A movie still from Memoirs of a Geisha

A movie still from Memoirs of a Geisha

Many people were upset that central characters in the movie were not played by native Japanese actresses; indeed, the lead is played by Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. The production crew, however, paid little attention, in a move that some consider arrogant pan-Asianism, and a refusal to recognize the diversity of cultures in Asia. In China, however, the casting caused a stir in the Chinese Internet community where some users were unhappy due to rising nationalist sentiment, especially because some mistook geisha for prostitutes.

A profession similar to that of a Geisha did exist in imperial China. These women were refined in art, literature, history and social manners. They lived in brothels but did not make a living by selling their bodies. Their job was to entertain male guests with their talents in music, chess, calligraphy, painting etc., a practice known in Chinese as "selling one's talents instead of one's body" (?????). However, though highly refined and famous (involved in innumerable Chinese poems, literature, legends and folklore), they did not enjoy the status accorded to geisha in Japan. Some people unfamiliar with this cultural difference misunderstood geisha in a negative way.

Some argue that part of the negative reaction was due to the relative rarity of a famous actress playing a prostitute in native Chinese films due to the generally conservative values of Chinese society and government pressure, much less the role of "prostitute" in a country whose actions are often regarded as slights to China. Even in Hong Kong, Michelle Yeoh was surrounded by reporters asking her why she accepted the part. However, others argue that this is a red herring. Cecilia Cheung, for example, played a prostitute in One Night in Mongkok in 2004. In time, the controversy died down and the majority of Chinese were not affected. Many people, including the media, are waiting to see how these three Chinese actors perform in a film adapted from a novel set in traditional Japan.

Gift for the Chinese Actress from a Geisha

On a recent visit to Tokyo to promote the film, Zhang Ziyi received a mysterious parcel and letter, revealed to have been sent by an elderly Japanese woman who had once worked as a geisha. In her letter, the woman stated that she had been touched by the trailer of the film and expected the movie to bring back fond memories for her and her friends. Inside the parcel were several exquisitely worked antique kimonos. Zhang Ziyi was moved to tears by the gesture and sent the woman an invitation to the film's Japanese premiere. She also promised to wear one of the kimonos to the event as a sign of her gratitude (The Star Online).

External links

More later - Sparky

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sparky: It Was Twenty Five Years Ago Today ...

Let's All Remember John Lennon

John Lennon
in the autumn of 1968

John Winston Ono Lennon (October 9, 1940December 8, 1980) was best known as a singer, songwriter, poet and guitarist for the British rock band The Beatles. His creative career also included the roles of solo musician, political activist, artist, actor and author. As half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, he heavily influenced the development of rock music, leading it towards more serious and political messages.

He is recognized as one of the greatest musical icons of the 20th century and many of his songs, such as "Imagine" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", are often ranked among the best songs in popular music history. In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to discover the 100 Greatest Britons of all time, and the British public voted Lennon into 8th place.


Lennon was born in Liverpool on the evening of October 9, 1940 during a period of much turmoil as the UK was heavily engaged in World War II. Both of his parents had musical backgrounds and experience, though neither pursued them seriously. Lennon lived with his parents in Liverpool until his father Alfred (nicknamed Alf, and later "Freddy"), a merchant seaman, walked out on the family when John was five years old. His mother Julia then decided that she was unable to care for her son, and so gave him to her sister Mimi. Lennon lived with Aunt Mimi and her husband George at Mendips, 251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence.

Like much of the population of Liverpool, Lennon had some Irish heritage. His grandfather, James Lennon, was born in Dublin in 1858, and his grandmother Mary (née Maguire), was Irish-born as well. John Lennon's mother Julia (née Stanley) was of Welsh descent. Although he had little exposure to his Irish heritage growing up, he came to identify with it later in life.

Lennon developed severe myopia as he grew up, and was obliged to wear glasses in order to see clearly. During his early Beatle career, Lennon wore contacts or prescription sunglasses (or simply "toughed it out" without them). In 1966, on the set of How I Won The War, Lennon was issued a pair of National Health spectacles. He continued to wear these round, wire-rimmed glasses which became part of his iconic public image.

Although John lived apart from his mother, he still kept in contact with her through regular visits, and during his younger years Julia cultivated his lifelong interest in music by teaching him how to play the banjo. On July 15, 1958, when John Lennon was 17, his mother was killed after she was struck by a car driven by a drunken off-duty police officer. John had to go to the morgue to identify her body. Julia's death was one of the factors that cemented his friendship with Paul McCartney, who had lost his own mother to breast cancer in 1956, when Paul was 14. Years later, Lennon wrote the songs "Julia", "Mother" and "My Mummy's Dead" regarding his mother, as well as naming his firstborn son, Julian, after her.

Though failing in grammar school, Lennon was accepted into the Liverpool College of Art with help from his school's headmaster and his Aunt Mimi. It was there that he met his future wife, Cynthia Powell. Lennon would steadily grow to hate the conformity of art school, which proved to be little different from his earlier school experience, and ultimately dropped out. He instead devoted himself to music, inspired by American Rock 'n' Roll and singers like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. He'd started a skiffle band in grammar school called the Quarry Men (after his alma mater, Quarry Bank). With the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, the band changed to playing rock 'n' roll, taking the name "Johnny and the Moondogs", followed by "The Silver Beetles" (a tribute to Buddy Holly's Crickets), which was later shortened to The Beatles. He married Powell in 1962, after she became pregnant with Julian.

Role in the Beatles

Lennon had a profound influence on rock and roll and in expanding the genre's boundaries during the 1960s. He is widely considered, along with songwriting partner Paul McCartney, as one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians of the 20th century. Many of the songs written exclusively or primarily by Lennon, however, are more introspective — often in the first person — and more personal than McCartney's. His most surreal pieces of songwriting, "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am the Walrus", are fine examples of his unique style. Lennon's partnership in songwriting with McCartney many times involved him in complementing and counterbalancing McCartney's upbeat positive outlook with the other side of the coin, as one of their songs, "Getting Better" demonstrates:

McCartney: I have to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time.
Lennon: It can't get no worse!

"More popular than Jesus" controversy

Lennon often spoke his mind freely and the press was used to querying him on a wide range of subjects. On March 4, 1966 in an interview for the London Evening Standard with Maureen Cleave, who was a friend of his, Lennon made an off the cuff remark regarding religion. "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. … I don't know what will go first—Rock and Roll or Christianity. We're more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." The article was printed and nothing came of it, until five months later when a teen magazine called Datebook reprinted part of the quote on the front cover.[1]

A firestorm of protest swelled from the southern U.S. Bible Belt area, as conservative groups publicly burned Beatles records and memorabilia. Radio stations banned Beatles music and concert venues cancelled performances. Even The Vatican got involved with a public denouncement of Lennon's comments. On August 11, 1966, the Beatles held a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, in order to address the growing furore.

Lennon: "I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it, but I just happened to be talking to a friend and I used the words "Beatles" as a remote thing, not as what I think - as Beatles, as those other Beatles like other people see us. I just said "they" are having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way."
Reporter: "Some teenagers have repeated your statements - "I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ." What do you think about that?"
Lennon: "Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."
Reporter: "But are you prepared to apologise?"
Lennon: "I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologise if that will make you happy. I still don't know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry."

The governing members of the Vatican accepted his apology and the furore eventually died down, but constant Beatlemania, mobs, crazed teenagers, and now a press ready to tear them to pieces over any quote was too much to handle. The Beatles soon decided to stop touring, and indeed, never performed a scheduled concert again. From this point onward the Beatles were a studio band (perhaps the first ever). Freed from the problem of having to compose music they could recreate live on stage, they could explore the technological limits of music and create unique and original sounds.

On November 9, 1966, after their final tour ended and right after he had wrapped up filming a minor role in the film How I Won the War, Lennon visited an art exhibit of Yoko Ono's at the Indica art gallery in London. Lennon began his love affair with Ono in 1968 after returning from India and leaving his estranged wife Cynthia, who filed for divorce later that year. Lennon and Ono were from then on inseparable in public and private, as well as during Beatles recording sessions. The press was extremely unkind to Ono, posting a series of unflattering articles about her, one even going so far as to call her "ugly." This infuriated Lennon, who rallied around his new partner and said publicly that there was no John and Yoko, but that they were one person, JohnAndYoko. Lennon adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 1966 and would do so on and off until his death. These developments led to friction with the other members of the group, and heightened the tension during the 1968 White Album sessions.

At the end of 1968, Lennon and Ono performed as Dirty Mac on The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus.

During his last two years as a member of The Beatles, Lennon spent much of his time with Ono on public displays protesting the Vietnam War. He sent back the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) he received from Queen Elizabeth II during the height of Beatlemania "in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing and support of America in Vietnam," adding as a joke, "as well as "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts." On March 20, 1969, Lennon and Ono were married in Gibraltar, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam in a "Bed-In" for peace. They followed up their honeymoon with another "Bed-In" for peace this time held in Montreal at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During the second "Bed-In" the couple recorded "Give Peace a Chance" which would go on to become an international anthem for the peace movement. They were mainly patronised as a couple of eccentrics by the media, yet they did a great deal for the peace movement, as well as for other pet causes, such as feminism and racial harmony. As with the "Bed-In" campaign, Lennon and Ono usually advocated their causes with whimsical demonstrations, such as Bagism, first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Shortly after, Lennon changed his middle name from Winston to Ono to show his "oneness" with his new wife. Lennon wrote "The Ballad of John and Yoko" about his marriage and the subsequent press it generated.

The failed Get Back/Let It Be recording/filming sessions did nothing to improve relations within the band. After both Lennon and Ono were injured in the summer of 1969 in a car accident in Scotland, Lennon arranged for Ono to be constantly with him in the studio (including having a full-sized bed rolled in) as he worked on The Beatles' last album, Abbey Road. While the group managed to hang together to produce one last superior musical work, soon thereafter business issues related to Apple Corps came between them.

Lennon decided to quit the Beatles but was talked out of saying anything publicly. Phil Spector's involvement in trying to revive the Let It Be material then drove a further wedge between Lennon (who supported Spector) and McCartney (who opposed him). Though the split would only become legal some time later, Lennon and McCartney's partnership had come to a bitter end. McCartney soon made a press announcement, declaring he had quit the Beatles, and promoting his new solo record.

Solo career

John Lennon, early 1970; his Beatle locks shorn - as were Yoko's - for a charity auction.
John Lennon, early 1970; his Beatle locks shorn - as were Yoko's - for a charity auction.

Of the four former Beatles, Lennon had perhaps the most varied recording career. While he was still a Beatle, Lennon and Ono recorded three albums of experimental and difficult electronic music, Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins, Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions, and Wedding Album. His first 'solo' album of popular music was Live Peace in Toronto 1969, recorded in 1969 (prior to the breakup of the Beatles) at the Rock 'n' Roll Festival in Toronto with The Plastic Ono Band, which included Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann. He also recorded three singles in his initial solo phase, the anti-war anthem "Give Peace a Chance", "Cold Turkey" (about his struggles with heroin addiction) and "Instant Karma!"

Following the Beatles' split in 1970, he released the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, a raw, brutally personal record, heavily influenced by Arthur Janov's Primal therapy, which Lennon had undergone previously. The influence of the therapy, which consists literally of screaming out one's emotional pain, is most obvious on the songs "Mother" ("Mama don't go!/Daddy come home!") and "Well Well Well." The centrepiece is "God," in which he lists all the things he does not believe in, ending with "Beatles". Many consider "Plastic Ono Band" to be a major influence on later hard rock and punk music. Lennon continued this effort to demythologise his old band with a long, confrontational interview published in Rolling Stone magazine.

This was followed in 1971 by Imagine, his most successful solo album, which alternates in tone between dreaminess and anger. The title track has become an anthem for anti-war movements, and was matched in image by Lennon's "white period" (white clothes, white piano, white room …)

Perhaps in reaction, his next album, Some Time in New York City, was loud, raucous, and explicitly political, with songs about prison riots, racial and sexual relations, the British role in the sectarian troubles in Northern Ireland, and his own problems in obtaining a United States Green Card. This record is generally seen as the nadir of Lennon's career, full of heavy-handed and simplistic messaging unredeemed by much artistic value. Lennon had been interested in left-wing politics since the late 1960s, and was alleged to have given donations to the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party [2]. It was during the period of the recording of this album that his links to this group were perhaps at their strongest. On 30 August 1972 Lennon and his backing band Elephant's Memory staged two benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York; it was to be his last full-length concert appearance. Lennon and Ono also did a week-long guest co-host stint on the Mike Douglas Show, in an appearance that showed Lennon's wit and humour still intact.

In 1972, Lennon released an anti-sexism song, "Woman Is the Nigger of the World", implying that as black people were discriminated against in some countries so were women globally. Radio refused to broadcast the song, and it was banned nearly everywhere, although he managed to play it to television viewers during his second appearance in the The Dick Cavett Show.

Lennon rebounded in 1973 with Mind Games, which featured a strong title tune and some vague mumblings about a "conceptual country" called "Nutopia", which satirized his ongoing immigration case. His most striking song of that year was the wry "I'm the Greatest," which he wrote for Ringo Starr's very successful Ringo album.

In 1973, Lennon's personal life fell into disrepair when Yoko kicked John out of the house. Yoko approached May Pang, the attractive Asian woman who was their personal assistant at the time, with a unique proposal. Yoko, who thought May Pang to be an "ideal companion" for John, asked her to "be with John and to help him out and see to it that he gets whatever he wanted." John and May soon moved to Los Angeles which had been dubbed the "lost weekend" though it lasted until the beginning of 1975. During their time together, May encouraged John to spend time with his son, Julian Lennon, and became friends with Cynthia Lennon. Though John's public drunkenness had been the subject of gossip during 1974, Pang wrote that John was usually sober in his private life and created a large body of work.

Despite alleged episodes of drunkenness, Lennon put together the well-received album, Walls and Bridges, which featured a collaboration with Elton John on the up-tempo number one hit "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night". Another top ten hit from the album was the Beatlesque reverie "#9 Dream". Lennon capped the year by making a surprise guest appearance at an Elton John concert in Madison Square Garden where they performed "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" and "I Saw Her Standing There" together. It was to be his last-ever concert appearance.

In 1975, Lennon released the Rock 'n' Roll album of cover versions of old rock and roll songs of his youth. This project was complicated by Phil Spector's involvement as producer and by several legal battles; the result received generally negative reviews, though it yielded a powerful, lauded cover of "Stand by Me".

At this point Yoko was pregnant with what would be their first child, and Lennon — saddened by the fact that due to Beatlemania he had never gotten to experience fatherhood with his first son Julian — retired from music and dedicated himself to family life. This was made easier in 1976 when his U.S. immigration status was finally resolved favourably, after a years-long battle with the Nixon administration that included an FBI investigation involving surveillance, wiretaps, and agents literally following Lennon around as he travelled. Lennon claimed the investigation was politically motivated.

Also in 1975, David Bowie achieved his first US number one hit with "Fame", co-written by Bowie, Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals) and Carlos Alomar.

John Lennon and Yoko Onoin one of their last photo shoots,21 November 1980
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
in one of their last photo shoots,
21 November 1980

Lennon's retirement, which he began following the birth of his second son, Sean in 1975, lasted until 1980 when Lennon, for the first time in five years, picked up his guitar again. At first only curious to see if he could still write music, he felt refreshed and full of ideas, completely reinvigorated by the experiences of fatherhood and the long break from the business. He wrote an impressive amount of material during a Caribbean vacation and began thinking about a new album. For this comeback, he and Ono produced Double Fantasy, a concept album dealing with their relationship. The name came from a flower Lennon saw at an exposition; he liked the name, and thought it was a perfect description of his marriage to Yoko. "(Just Like) Starting Over" began climbing the singles charts, and Lennon started thinking about a brand new world tour. Lennon also commenced work on Milk and Honey which he would, unfortunately, leave unfinished. It was some time before Ono could bring herself to complete it.

Towards the end of his life, Lennon expressed his displeasure with the scant credit he was given as an influence on George Harrison in the latter's autobiography I Me Mine. According to Yoko, he was also unhappy that Paul McCartney's Beatles songs, such as "Yesterday", "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be" were more popular than his own contributions.


In the late afternoon of December 8, 1980, in New York City, fan Mark David Chapman met Lennon as he left his home in the Dakota building for a recording session and got his copy of Double Fantasy autographed; the event of Lennon signing one of his last autographs was caught by a photographer who witnessed this goodwill gesture. Chapman remained in the vicinity of the Dakota building for most of the day as a fireworks demonstration in nearby Central Park distracted the doorman and passers-by.

Later that evening, Lennon and Ono returned to their apartment from recording Ono's single "Walking on Thin Ice" for their next album. At 10.50pm, their limousine pulled up to the entrance of the Dakota. Ono got out of the car first, followed by Lennon. As Ono went in, Lennon glanced at Chapman, then proceeded on through the entrance to the building.

As Lennon walked past him, Chapman called out "Mr. Lennon." As Lennon turned, Chapman crouched into what witnesses called a "combat" stance and fired five hollowpoint bullets. One bullet missed, but four bullets entered John's back and shoulder. One of the four bullets fatally pierced his aorta. Still, Lennon managed to stagger up six steps into the concierge booth where he collapsed, gasping "I'm shot, I'm shot."

Chapman stood there, holding his .38 Charter Arms revolver, which was pulled out of his hands and kicked away by Jose Perdomo who then asked "What have you done, what have you done?", to which Chapman replied "I just shot John Lennon." Chapman then calmly took his coat off, placed it at his feet, took out a copy of J.D. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and started reading.

Police arrived within minutes, to find Chapman still waiting quietly outside, still reading the book.

The two officers transported Lennon to Roosevelt Hospital in the back of their squad car as they thought John was too badly hurt to take the risk of waiting for an ambulance. One of the officers asked Lennon if he knew who he was. Lennon's reply is reported to have been "Yeah," or simply a nod of the head before he passed out. Despite extensive resuscitative efforts in the Emergency Department, Lennon had lost over 80% of his blood volume and died of shock at the age of 40.

A stunned world was informed of his death by Dr. Stephen Lynn who shortly before had broken the devastating news privately to an anxiously waiting Yoko. However, most Americans learned of the murder via an unusual source. When Lennon was shot, ABC Television was in the midst of airing their ratings bonanza, Monday Night Football. Instead of breaking to a news bulletin and against the wishes of his producers, legendary football announcer Howard Cosell (who had interviewed Lennon on MNF years earlier) went ahead and stunned the nation by announcing news of the murder with one of the most memorable and chilling calls in TV history:

Cosell: This, we have to say it, remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead…on…arrival.

When asked once in the 1960s how he expected to die, Lennon's offhand answer was "I'll probably be popped off by some loony." In retrospect, although he might have meant it as a joke and did not expect it to happen, the comment turned out to be chillingly accurate. Another chillingly accurate comment was made in his last interview, where he mentioned that he often felt that somebody was stalking him: first it was federal agents in the 1970s trying to deport him and later the obsessed fan in 1980.

Memorials and tributes

A crowd gathered outside the Dakota the night of Lennon's death. Ono sent word that their singing kept her awake and asked that they re-convene in Central Park the following Sunday for ten minutes of silent prayer (see also the 1980 Central Park Vigil - Tribute to John Lennon). Her request for a silent gathering was honoured all over the world.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Entrance to the Dakota Building, November 2004 Photo: Lee Meredith

December 9, 1980, Bruce Springsteen at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA noted after hearing of Lennon's death "It's a hard night to come out and play but there's nothing else you can do." He ended the show with a spirited performance of "Twist and Shout".

A special commemorative issue of Rolling Stone magazine released shortly after the murder featured as its cover a photo taken the morning of the shooting by Annie Leibovitz showing a nude Lennon in an embryonic pose kissing a fully clothed Ono. In 2005, this cover was voted as the #1 magazine cover of all time by The American Society of Magazine Editors.

In 1981, George Harrison released his album Somewhere In England which included the song "All Those Years Ago", a subtle tribute to Lennon. Additionally, Elton John's Jump Up! featured a hit single, "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," also a tribute to Lennon.

In 1982, Paul McCartney's tribute to Lennon, the sentimental "Here Today", appeared on his acclaimed album, Tug of War. The same year, Queen's album Hot Space contained a song entitled "Life Is Real," also a tribute to Lennon.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel remembered Lennon in their 1981 reunion concert in Central Park, performing a song titled "The Late Great Johnny Ace". (Johnny Ace had been a promising singer-songwriter, who had also died tragically, in the 1950s.) Simon and Garfunkel had tried recording in the 1970s with Lennon and Harry Nilsson; their one session together had unfortunately yielded no results.

The Strawberry Fields Memorial was constructed in Central Park across the street from the Dakota, in memory of Lennon. (When George Harrison died in 2001, people congregated on the "Imagine" mosaic circle in Strawberry Fields.)

In the 1980's, Lennon fans in Prague created the "Lennon Wall" across from the French Embassy. Adorned with portraits and quotes from Lennon, along with other graffiti, it was used as a venue for anti-government and pro-peace commentary from locals. During the communist era, there was a running battle of sorts between artists and the police, since public commentary of this type was illegal.

In 1988, Warner Bros. produced a documentary film, Imagine: John Lennon (sanctioned in part by Yoko Ono). The movie was a biography of the former Beatle, featuring interviews, rarely seen musical material, and narration by Lennon himself (formed from interviews and tapes recorded by Lennon). It also introduced "Real Love", one of the last songs composed by Lennon, in an early demo (a later demo would form the basis for the version rehashed by The Beatles for The Beatles Anthology). The following year, at an auction of Beatles memorabilia, Lennon's jukebox was sold at Christie's for £2,500. The Mellotron that Lennon used to record, amongst other songs, "Strawberry Fields Forever", is currently owned by Trent Reznor of the band Nine Inch Nails.

Specially selected radio stations aired a syndicated series called The Lost Lennon Tapes in 1990. Hosted by Lennon publicist Elliot Mintz, the show spotlighted raw sessions from throughout Lennon's career with and without The Beatles, including rare material never released to the public.

In the same year, 1990, a tribute concert was held in memory of Lennon. Aptly entitled 'John Lennon: The Tribute Concert', the concert was held on the bank of the River Mersey in Liverpool. The highlight of the night was diminutive Australian star, Kylie Minogue's tribute of The Beatles' classic, "Help". Both Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and critics praised Minogue for her efforts, and the performance was generally well received.

In 1993, the early punk band Bad Religion released a song called "Don't Pray on Me", from their eighth studio album Recipe for Hate. The lyric of the song is "Mark David did it to John". The song was also not inspired or dedicated to Lennon.

On October 31, 1994, Phish, a jam band, paid tribute to Lennon and the Beatles by covering The Beatles album (also known as the White Album).

In 1995, the band Oasis released a song called "Don't Look Back in Anger", from their second album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?. The piano at the beginning of the song is taken from "Imagine".

In 1996, the band The Cranberries released a song called "I just Shot John Lennon", from their third album To the Faithful Departed. The song chronicles the death of John Lennon. The title comes from the words Mark David Chapman spoke immediately after shooting John Lennon.

In October 2000 John Lennon Museum was opened in Ono's hometown Saitama, Japan, to preserve knowledge of his works and career.

During the America: A Tribute to Heroes concert on September 21, 2001, Neil Young (an avowed devotee of Lennon) sang "Imagine."

In March, 2002, his native city, Liverpool, honoured his memory by renaming their airport "Liverpool John Lennon Airport," and adopting as its motto a line from his song "Imagine": "Above us only sky". In the same year, Lennon was voted 8th by the British public in the "100 Greatest Britons" poll run by the BBC. BBC History Magazine commented that his "generational influence is immense."

In 2004 Madonna paid tribute to Lennon by singing a cover of "Imagine" during her anti-war themed "Re-Invention World Tour." Also in 2004, A Perfect Circle recorded a cover of "Imagine" on their album eMOTIVe.

In 2005, Cowboy Junkies covered "I Don't Want To Be A Soldier" on their anti-war album, "Early 21st Century Blues".

A biographical Broadway musical titled Lennon was mounted at New York City’s Broadhurst Theater in 2005. Written and directed by Don Scardino from Lennon's own words in interviews and songs, Lennon featured nine diverse actors and actresses portraying the singer-songwriter at various stages in his life backed by an onstage 10-piece band. The play was produced with the endorsement of Yoko Ono, who gave permission for the production to use two unpublished Lennon songs, India, India and I Don't Want to Lose You, and who attended preview performances of the show at New York City's Broadhurst Theater on August 5 & 6, 2005. The Musical had been premiered in San Francisco to poor reviews and had received a very lackluster response from theatre critics and Beatles fans alike. It was subsequently reworked, later gaining a much better reception. After 42 preview performances, Lennon opened on Broadway on August 14, 2005, and closed on September 24, 2005 after 49 performances.

Country music superstar Dolly Parton included "Imagine" on her 2005 album Those Were The Days.

John Lennon Park was built in Cuba as a memorial to the musician.

Julian Lennon, John's son with Cynthia, enjoys a notable recording career of his own, as does Sean Lennon, his son with Yoko.

The Band O.A.R. wrote a song called "Dakota" in honor and remembrance of Lennon.


Throughout his solo career, Lennon appeared on his own albums (as well as those of other artists like Elton John) under such pseudonyms as Dr. Winston O'Boogie, Mel Torment (a play on singer Mel Tormé), and The Reverend Fred Gherkin. He and Ono (as Ada Gherkin and other sobriquets) also travelled under such names, thus avoiding unwanted public attention.


For a detailed discography, see: John Lennon discography

Biographies and books

Numerous biographies of John Lennon have been published. Notable among these are The Lives of John Lennon by Albert Goldman (which many consider to be more fiction than fact) and Lennon: The Definitive Biography by Ray Coleman.

John Lennon wrote three books himself: John Lennon: In His Own Write, A Spaniard in the Works, and Skywriting by Word of Mouth (the last published posthumously). A personal sketchbook with Lennon's familiar cartoons illustrating definitions of Japanese words, Ai: Japan Through John Lennon's Eyes, was published posthumously.


See also

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Remember violence is rarely an answer ... - Sparky

While the PP Guru hiberating his worries away in original city of Sin, Las Vegas- he got a variety of e-mails, mostly in his bulk dairy case from female paramours wanting to either get to know him, or to maybe spend his hard won slot machines winning on them. You know the typical 'scope out the rich PP Guru' scheme works- you get involved with your *ahem* film star neighbor and all of a sudden, every girl within a 500 mile radius wants a piece of the PP Guru.
However- one letter stood out in particular. It seems this girl went out of her way - from as far away as two continents to vy for the PP Guru's affections.

This is her little introduction. From what the PP Guru can surmise, it's seems that she doesn't write her letters in English- but has them translated through some doohickey on her computer:

It reads like Yoda. And as everyone knows, as well as the PP Guru knows. Everyone loves Yoda.

My name is Irina as you know. I am 28 years old. My birthday is on the June 22, 1977. My height is 168 cm (5 feet 6 inches). My weight is 52 kg(115 pounds). I live in the village of city type Spartakovka. Spartakovkais located in 18 kilometers from the city of Volgograd, Russia. Volgograd the big and known city. In the childhood I dreamed to become a filmactress as all girls, but it were children's imaginations only. My education consist of three steps. School - College - University. I began to get education in the comprehensive school. After I finished it I entered the medical college. I finished it with excellent results and entered the Medical University. Till now I worked in a small polyclinic. I worked as a assistant to the surgeon. Very interesting work but unfortunately for me it was necessary to leave from this work. There paid a very little. Now I work as the manager in a bureau of registration of a marriage. This small bureau in our village. It is very interesting work. I love the work, is especial when I look at happy persons of a newly-married couple and you speak to them " now you the husband and the wife ". I have a small house with a small garden.

See, doesn't that turn you on? The PP Guru is very turned on by her. So a few days later, the PP Guru recieved another letter from her after waiting to hear what her reaction would be upon seeing some of the PP Guru's photoshoot that the PP Guru had shared with his *ahem* film star neighbor.

Here is another excerpt:

I do not think at all, that you are too old for me. Concerning age I can tell, that the age of the person defines his appearance and a condition of his soul. The main thing in the person - soul. The personwith age becomes wiser. At you the most remarkable age. I have decided to write to you because I think this age the best for a man.

I could not see your website till now because I cannot use the Internet. I can only write my letters and receive yours. But I have saved your the reference of website and when I will receive an opportunity to use the Internet during several minutes, I will necessarily open him. Many thanks for your pictures. Very pleasantly. You such strong and handsome man. You really have a nice face.

You see? Now why can't more chicks be open and honest like the PP Guru brand (monkey) spankin new comrade? She really knows how to warm the Solichnaya
cockels of this little guru. The PP Guru would love to have her out here in the good old USA of California and knock back a few screwdrivers with her.

She thinks the PP Guru is cute. The PP Guru could be in cloud heaven right now - and it's strange really, because every time the PP Guru gets involved in a relationship with someone- others just want a piece of the pie. But the PP Guru doesn't think that trading up his *ahem* film star pretty neighbor gal pal is in the cards right now, because the PP Guru really digs her and would really tear his eyeteeth out for her.

But there's no harm in making contingency plans.

Let the heat seeking moisture missiles fly high to the heart of the sunrise to...