By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

Hi, folks. My name is still Thompson, and I am still a flagrant sportswriter -- despite those jackass rumors out of Salt Lake City. No. I have not converted to Mormonism or any other power-sect. And I have never worshipped bulls. It is not in my nature -- and I was not born to live in the dismal grip of Utah, under any circumstances.

Nor was I born to live in the rotten month of February, which is almost over, and good riddance. It is an evil month, with evil energy. Everything about it is Wrong.

Whoops! The storm is moving in. This might be our last chance to speak rashly for the public record -- or at least the last time until March. ... Why not? My W-L numbers are too good to release, frankly, and showing off is always bad Karma.

***** ***** *****

Why am I thinking about the Washington Wizards when I stare at this typewriter? Why do I hear these voices saying: "The Wizards will never make the NBA playoffs in any even-numbered year."

And why do I believe it?

For a few bizarre hours last night, I even swore to it -- with Ed Bradley as a witness, along with a fixer from Georgetown named Curtis.

Sunday croaked the 2002 Winter Olympics, and also the Maryland-Wake Forest game. It snowed heavily all day, blowing sideways from time to time, and the sun was never visible. On a scale of 1-10, Sunday was a flawed Three, with wild fluctuations from midnight to midnight, when the queasy spectacle in Utah flamed out with the utter humiliation of the U.S. hockey Dream Team.

Whoops again! Hold the presses; things have changed. The weather outside has gone berserk, right in front of our eyes. This is what they call a Blizzard, folks, a king-hell brute of a blizzard. ... Indeed, this is terminal weather. Visibility outside my windows is less than 8 feet, down from 8 miles on most winter days -- except, of course, for the evil month of February.

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"Nonsense," Bradley scoffed. "Are you chicken?" He had been wide awake since dawn, skiing feverishly on the hill, and by nightfall he was feeling groggy from what he said was a profoundly intense three-hour massage in his villa. I put my arm around Anita and hooted at him, then abruptly changed the subject back to the dismal fate of the Wizards.

Ed stays away from sports on "60 Minutes," but in truth he is a blue-chip fanatic about big-time sports of every ilk -- except perhaps Bowling and Spanish Cliff-diving.

Ed kicks ass. He is cool. He is also a Charter Member of the Woody Creek Rod & Gun Club, which is super-naturally cool. Take my word for it, folks: I am the executive Director of the Woody Creek A.C., as they say in less-informed circles.

The club is little-known to the public, and we like it that way. Formal announcements and/or Position-papers are so rare as to command attention whenever it happens. One of these appeared on the back page of the Aspen Times in January 1989, drawing considerable world-wide attention. It was headlined "TURBO MUST DIE: Champion Bull Doomed in $10 million Sperm-Bomb Sacrifice at Famous sporting Club," under the disturbing "Raoul Duke" Byline. Here it is:


The WORLD-FAMED WOODY CREEK Rod and Gun Club will host a combined bull-sperm auction and prize animal sacrifice Jan. 26-27, in conjunction with the annual Unlimited Class Firepower Demonstration at the club's secluded Bomb and Blasting Range on unpaved dead-end Lenado Road in upper Woody Creek.

The event was announced by press spokesman Semmes Luckett and immediately hailed by local cattlemen as "heroically brilliant" and "a masterpiece of understated genius."

The unprecedented sperm auction is expected to attract exotic cattle breeders from all over the world and climax with a record-setting $10 million sale bid for the sperm of Grand National Champion breeding bull "Turbo," who will die in a spectacular "sacrifice explosion" at the end of the auction ceremony personally performed by the bull's owner, Woody Creek rancher George Stranahan, who says he will donate all profits from the historic auction/sacrifice of his prize animal to the club's prestigious Bomb Research Endowment Fund.

Stranahan, a nuclear research physicist and dominant breeder of the ancient Limosin beef line, is the famed sporting club's vice-president for experimental explosions and a ranking expert in bull marketing strategies.

His neo-priceless Limosin strain dates back 20,000 years to the Bull worship Era in the Limosges province of France, when bulls allegedly ruled the world.

Stranahan, a misogynistic recluse whose personal fortune has been estimated at $44 billion, said the public will not be invited to the bizarre auction/sacrifice and "if any intruders are captured, they will be chained to the neck of the doomed bull at dot-zero in the bomb area and will never be seen again."

The auction, he said, will begin with a catered lunch of wild lichen and gallbladders of recently killed bears -- and will end only after a limited edition of one thousand vials of the prize bull's sperm are sold off to bidders at no less than $10,000 each.

"I feel wonderful about this thing," Stranahan said. "It's the smartest idea I ever had. With one jerk on the fuse puller, we will finalize Turbo's price at $10 million and then blow him to smithereens."

The guest list of profoundly wealthy bidders expected to attend the event, said Luckett, "was top secret until yesterday, when a disgruntled animal rights activist revealed the names of Donald Trump, publisher Rupert Murdoch, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, and actor Jack Nicholson, a longtime member of the defiantly secretive club and a vocal defender of its frequently criticized traditions.

Membership in the Woody Creek Rod and Gun Club is so exclusive that no list of members is believed to exist, and the name of the club's president has never been revealed. Members communicate with each other by code names, and monthly gatherings are shrouded in secrecy and conducted in what spokesman Luckett described as "effectively utter darkness."

"Many of the 222 members are prominent and extremely beautiful women," he said, and "privacy is our dominant ethic."

"Loose lips are sealed quickly," he added, "by fire and other methods, which we will never admit or explain."

-- Woody Creek, 1989

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex and The Rum Diary. His new book, Fear and Loathing in America, has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears each Monday on Page 2.




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