Tag Archives: WEIRD

Hiway America -Louisville,Kentucky.Welcome to the Messy World of Jerry’s Junk

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weird wacky and way out- check out my humorous blog

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Q: Why do Scottish people wear kilts? A: Sheep can hear a zipper from a mile away.

Two Irishmen friends are drinking together at one of their homes. One friend takes out a bottle of Irish whiskey and asks the other, “Will you pour this bottle out on my grave if I die first?” His friend replies, “Do you mind if I pass it through my kidneys first?”

Q: If a plane crashed on the Canada/USA border, where would the survivors be buried?
A: You don’t bury survivors.

Q: Why were the Indians here first?
A: They had reservations.

There was a preacher who fell in the ocean and he couldn’t swim. When a boat came by, the captain yelled, “Do you need help, sir?” The preacher calmly said “No, God will save me.” A little later, another boat came by and a fisherman asked, “Hey, do you need help?” The preacher replied again, “No God will save me.” Eventually the preacher drowned & went to heaven. The preacher asked God, “Why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “Fool, I sent you two boats!”

Q: What do a Christmas tree and a priest have in common?
A: Their balls are just for decoration.

A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing. The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention, but the drunk continues to sit there. Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall. The drunk mumbles, “Ain’t no use knockin’! There’s no paper on this side either!”

Mother superior tells two new nuns that they have to paint their room without getting any paint on their clothes. One nun suggests to the other, “Hey, let’s take all our clothes off, fold them up, and lock the door.” So they do this, and begin painting their room. Soon they hear a knock at the door. They ask, “Who is it?” “Blind man!” The nuns look at each other and one nun says, “He’s blind, so he can’t see. What could it hurt?” They let him in. The blind man walks in and says, “Hey, nice tits. Where do you want me to hang the blinds?”

A boy is selling fish on a corner. To get his customers’ attention, he is yelling, “Dam fish for sale! Get your dam fish here!” A pastor hears this and asks, “Why are you calling them ‘dam fish.'” The boy responds, “Because I caught these fish at the local dam.” The pastor buys a couple fish, takes them home to his wife, and asks her to cook the dam fish. The wife responds surprised, “I didn’t know it was acceptable for a preacher to speak that way.” He explains to her why they are dam fish. Later at the dinner table, he asks his son to pass the dam fish. He responds, “That’s the spirit, Dad! Now pass the f*cking potatoes!”

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A boy is selling fish on a corner. To get his customers’ attention, he is yelling, “Dam fish for sale! Get your dam fish here!” A pastor hears this and asks, “Why are you calling them ‘dam fish.'” The boy responds, “Because I caught these fish at the local dam.” The pastor buys a couple fish, takes them home to his wife, and asks her to cook the dam fish. The wife responds surprised, “I didn’t know it was acceptable for a preacher to speak that way.” He explains to her why they are dam fish. Later at the dinner table, he asks his son to pass the dam fish. He responds, “That’s the spirit, Dad! Now pass the f*cking potatoes!”

A man gets on a bus, and ends up sitting next to a very attractive nun. Enamored with her, he asks if he can have sex with her. Naturally, she says no, and gets off the bus. The man goes to the bus driver and asks him if he knows of a way for him to have sex with the nun. “Well,” says the bus driver, “every night at 8 o’clock, she goes to the cemetery to pray. If you dress up as God, I’m sure you could convince her to have sex with you.” The man decides to try it, and dresses up in his best God costume. At eight, he sees the nun and appears before her. “Oh, God!” she exclaims. “Take me with you!” The man tells the nun that she must first have sex with him to prove her loyalty. The nun says yes, but tells him she prefers anal sex. Before you know it, they’re getting down to it, having nasty, grunty, loud sex. After it’s over, the man pulls off his God disguise. “Ha, ha!” he says, “I’m the man from the bus!” “Ha, ha!” says the nun, removing her costume, “I’m the bus driver!”

A little boy wants a bike for Christmas really badly, but the kid is a real bad seed, and he knows it. He writes a letter to Jesus. “Dear Jesus, if I get a bike for Christmas, I’ll be good for a whole week.” He thinks about it, crosses out what he wrote, and says, “I can’t be good for a whole week, I’ll be good for five days.” He crosses that out and writes, “I’ll be good for four days.” Then he thinks again and says, “Can’t do that.” He gets down to one day and says, “I can’t even be good for a day.” Then in frustration, goes in his mother’s room and get the statue of the Virgin Mary, wraps it up in a blanket, puts it in a paper bag, throws it in the closet and says, “Dear Jesus, if I don’t get a bike for Christmas, you’ll never see your mother again!”

 

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Three guys are at the gates of Heaven, and God tells them, “We have a special today! If you died a terrible death, you’re in for free.” So God asks the first guy his story. “I was a hard working man and a loving husband, but I began to suspect that my wife was cheating on me. One day, I called in sick to work and left for home to hide and closely watch my apartment. I saw a man go in, and I decided to wait a few minutes to catch them in the act. Then, I started banging on my door. They wouldn’t open it, so I broke down the door and walked in to see my wife sitting naked, but the man wasn’t in sight. I went to the balcony, where I saw a naked man hanging on the edge. I began to stomp on his hands until he fell down, but there were bushes, so I got my fridge and tossed it on him. In the process of tossing the fridge, I also fell over and died.” God replies, “Wow, that’s pretty bad, finding out your wife cheated and falling off your balcony. You pass.” The second guy says, “God, my only crime was that I enjoyed dancing naked in my apartment while eating pickles out of the jar. I was doing just that one day, when I slipped on a pickle and fell over my balcony. Luckily, I was able to grab on to the ledge below mine. After a few minutes, a man came and I thought he was going to rescue me, but he began to stomp on my hands. I fell, but luckily, I fell into the bushes. I thought I had survived, but that man threw a fridge at me and I died!” God replies, “Wow, that’s very cruel, being crushed to death.” The third man says, “I died naked in a fridge.”

Three guys are at the gates of Heaven, and God tells them, “We have a special today! If you died a terrible death, you’re in for free.” So God asks the first guy his story. “I was a hard working man and a loving husband, but I began to suspect that my wife was cheating on me. One day, I called in sick to work and left for home to hide and closely watch my apartment. I saw a man go in, and I decided to wait a few minutes to catch them in the act. Then, I started banging on my door. They wouldn’t open it, so I broke down the door and walked in to see my wife sitting naked, but the man wasn’t in sight. I went to the balcony, where I saw a naked man hanging on the edge. I began to stomp on his hands until he fell down, but there were bushes, so I got my fridge and tossed it on him. In the process of tossing the fridge, I also fell over and died.” God replies, “Wow, that’s pretty bad, finding out your wife cheated and falling off your balcony. You pass.” The second guy says, “God, my only crime was that I enjoyed dancing naked in my apartment while eating pickles out of the jar. I was doing just that one day, when I slipped on a pickle and fell over my balcony. Luckily, I was able to grab on to the ledge below mine. After a few minutes, a man came and I thought he was going to rescue me, but he began to stomp on my hands. I fell, but luckily, I fell into the bushes. I thought I had survived, but that man threw a fridge at me and I died!” God replies, “Wow, that’s very cruel, being crushed to death.” The third man says, “I died naked in a fridge.”

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi want to see who’s best at his job. So they each go into the woods, find a bear, and attempt to convert it. Later they get together. The priest begins: “When I found the bear, I read to him from the Catechism and sprinkled him with holy water. Next week is his first communion.” “I found a bear by the stream,” says the minister, “and preached God’s holy word. The bear was so mesmerized that he let me baptize him.” They both look down at the rabbi, who is lying on a gurney in a body cast. “Looking back,” he says, “maybe I shouldn’t have started with the circumcision.”

In surgery for a heart attack, a middle-aged woman has a vision of God by her bedside. “Will I die?” she asks. God says, “No. You have 30 more years to live.” With 30 years to look forward to, she decides to make the best of it. So since she’s in the hospital, she gets breast implants, liposuction, a tummy tuck, hair transplants, and collagen injections in her lips. She looks great! The day she’s discharged, she exits the hospital with a swagger, crosses the street, and is immediately hit by an ambulance and killed. Up in heaven, she sees God. “You said I had 30 more years to live,” she complains. “That’s true,” says God. “So what happened?” she asks. God shrugs, “I didn’t recognize you.”

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If Mary had Jesus, and Jesus is the lamb of God, does that mean Mary had a little lamb?

A gentleman is preparing to board a plane, when he hears that the Pope is on the same flight. “This is exciting,” thinks the gentleman. “Perhaps I’ll be able to see him in person.” Imagine his surprise when the Pope sits down in the seat next to him. Shortly after take-off, the Pope begins a crossword puzzle. Almost immediately, the Pope turns to the gentleman and says, “Excuse me, but do you know a four letter word referring to a woman that ends in ‘unt?’” Only one word leaps to mind. “My goodness,” thinks the gentleman, “I can’t tell the Pope that. There must be another word.” The gentleman thinks for quite a while, and then it hits him. Turning to the Pope, the gentleman says, “I think the word you’re looking for is ‘aunt.’” “Of course,” says the Pope. “Do you have an eraser?”

A husband and wife are in church. The preacher notices that the husband has fallen asleep and says to the wife, “Wake your husband up!” The wife answers, “You’re the one who made him fall asleep, you wake him up!”

Wilson runs a nail factory and decides his business needs a bit of advertising. He has a chat with a friend who works in marketing, and he offers to make a television ad for Wilson’s Nails. “Give me a week,” says the friend, “and I’ll be back with a tape.” A week goes by and the marketing executive comes to see Wilson. He puts a cassette in the video and presses play. A Roman soldier is busy nailing Jesus to the cross. He turns to face the camera and says with a grin, “Use Wilson’s Nails, they’ll hold anything.” Wilson goes mad, shouting, “What is the matter with you? They’ll never show that on television. Give it another try, but no more Romans crucifying Jesus!” Another week goes by and the marketing man comes back to see Wilson with another tape. He puts it in the machine and hits play. This time the camera pans out from a Roman standing with his arms folded to show Jesus on the cross. The Roman looks up at him and says, “Wilson’s Nails, they’ll hold anything.” Wilson is beside himself. “You don’t understand. I don’t want anything with Jesus on the cross! Now listen, I’ll give you one last chance. Come back in a week with an advertisement that I can broadcast.” A week passes and Wilson waits impatiently. The marketing executive arrives and puts on the new video. A naked man with long hair, gasping for breath, is running across a field. About a dozen Roman soldiers come over the hill, hot on his trail. One of them turns to the camera and says, “If only we had used Wilson’s Nails!”

Two nuns were riding their bicycles down the street. The first nun says, “I’ve never came this way before.” The second nun says, “Yeah, it’s the cobblestones!”

Two nuns were riding their bicycles down the street. The first nun says, “I’ve never came this way before.” The second nun says, “Yeah, it’s the cobblestones!”

Q: Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocaine during a root canal?
A: His goal: transcend dental medication.

A man walks into the ladies department of Macy’s, walks up to the woman behind the counter and says, “I’d like to buy a bra for my wife.” “What type of bra?” asks the clerk. “Type?” inquires the man. “There is more than one type?” “Look around,” says the saleslady, as she shows a sea of bras in every shape, size, color, and material. “Actually, even with all of this variety, there are really only three types of bras,” replies the salesclerk. Confused, the man asks what the types are. The saleslady replies, “The Catholic type, the Salvation Army type, and the Baptist type. Which one do you need?” Still confused, the man asks, “What is the difference between them?” The lady responds, “It is all really quite simple. The Catholic type supports the masses, the Salvation Army type lifts up the fallen, and the Baptist type makes mountains out of mole hills.”

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A man walks into the ladies department of Macy’s, walks up to the woman behind the counter and says, “I’d like to buy a bra for my wife.” “What type of bra?” asks the clerk. “Type?” inquires the man. “There is more than one type?” “Look around,” says the saleslady, as she shows a sea of bras in every shape, size, color, and material. “Actually, even with all of this variety, there are really only three types of bras,” replies the salesclerk. Confused, the man asks what the types are. The saleslady replies, “The Catholic type, the Salvation Army type, and the Baptist type. Which one do you need?” Still confused, the man asks, “What is the difference between them?” The lady responds, “It is all really quite simple. The Catholic type supports the masses, the Salvation Army type lifts up the fallen, and the Baptist type makes mountains out of mole hills.”

What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything.

Why do Mormon women stop having kids at 29? Because 30 is too many!

When Paddy’s dog died, he took it to the local Catholic church. He asked the preacher if he could have a funeral service for his much loved pet, but the preacher explained that they didn’t do services like that for animals. Paddy asked who would and the preacher suggested that the Baptist church up the road would probably give the dog a funeral service. Paddy asked, “Preacher, do you think $5,000 would be enough payment for the dog’s funeral?” The preacher relied, “Dearest Paddy, why didn’t you tell me that your dog was a Catholic?”

Q: Why did all the hippies go to church on the first day of Lent? A: They heard it was “Hash Wednesday.”

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Q: How does Moses make his tea?
A: Hebrews it.

Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic with insomnia who stayed up all night wondering if there really is a dog?

AUSTRALIANS DEAN AND EDUARD NITZ LAY CLAIM TO ‘WORLD’S OLDEST BURGER

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Mmm…..Casey Dean and Eduard Nitz have waited 20 years to taste this burger. Source: Channel 10

ONCE upon a time in Adelaide, Casey Dean, 14, and his good mate Eduard Nitz, 13, stopped off at their local McDonald’s to pick up some burgers. Among them was a Quarter Pounder with cheese they’d bought for another kid. That kid never turned up, but they didn’t eat his burger. Ever.

That was back in 1995. The boys have become men and the burger has turned 20 and to celebrate, Mr Dean and Mr Nitz are going to reveal it to the world for the first time with an appearance on The Project tonight.

To bite or not to bite? Casey Dean and Eduard Nitz have pondered this question for two de

To bite or not to bite? Casey Dean and Eduard Nitz have pondered this question for two decades. Source: Channel 10

“We’re pretty sure it’s the oldest burger in the world,” Mr Dean said.

“It started off as a joke, you know we told our friend we’d hold his burger for him but he never turned up and before we knew it six months had passed. The months became years and now, 20 years later, it looks the same as it did the day we bought it, perfectly preserved in its original wrapping.”

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HIWAY AMERICA – The Oneonta Gorge Oregon, a time lapse Of Portland and weird Portland Oregon

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A TIME LAPSE OF PORTLAND

 Called “Finding Portland”, it took production company Uncage the Soul 51 days and more than 300,000 individual photos to assemble. Thanks to the magic of time lapse photography, each second contains 3.8 hours.

My favorite parts are the Shamrock Run at 1:05 and the long pan out starting at 1:24 that shows just how incredibly beautiful—and close by—the nature aroundPortland is.

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon

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Oneonta Gorge is one of those hidden treasures that you just have to see to believe. Tucked away within the stunning Columbia River Gorge (which is a natural wonder all on its own), this magical creek might be one of America’s most beautiful hikes. It was a miner ’49er named Carleton Eugene Watkins, originally on the West Coast for the California gold rush, who first photographed the area, and he was the one who gave the gorge its name– he called it “Oneonta” after his hometown of Oneonta, New York.

Located near Page, Ariz., this brilliant slot canyon is split into two different sections, commonly referred to as “The Crack” and “The Corkscrew.” The natural canvas of color and unique structure is an Instgrammer’s dream.

zschnepf / shutterstock.com

zschnepf / shutterstock.com

Flickr: gorgejeff / Creative Commons

 The Oneonta Gorge is in the Columbia River Gorge with a unique set of aquatic and woodland plants. The ferns and moss make the walls look like a fairy tale, and visitors can walk through the creek on a warm summer day.

HIWAY AMERICA- WEIRD FLORIDA

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HIWAY AMERICA- WEIRD FLORIDA

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Dumb Laws in Florida

City Laws in Florida

Miami Beach
Skateboarding is not allowed at any police station.
Persons face up to thirty days in jail for selling oranges on the sidewalk.
Termite farms are not allowed within the city.
No one may bring a pig with them to the beach.
Naples
Neon signs are prohibited.
Palm Bay
Persons may not tow a sled behind their bicycles.
Pensacola
Citizens may not be caught downtown without at least 10 dollars on their person.
It is illegal to roll a barrel on any street, fines go up according to the contents of the barrel.
A women can be fined (only after death), for being electrocuted in a bath-tub because of using self-beautification utensils.
Sanford
Stage nudity is banned, with the exception of “bona fide” theatrical performances.
Sarasota
If you hit a pedestrian you are fined $78.
You may not catch crabs.
Satellite Beach
Beer may not be sold between 2 a.
Persons may not appear in public clothed in liquid latex.
Seaside
All houses much have white picket fences and full-width, two-story porches.
Tampa
Women may not expose their breasts while performing“topless dancing”.
Lap dances must be given at least six feet away from a patron.

Ah, Florida: sun, surf, sand, South Beach, and senior citizens. That’s about it, right? Well, no, not exactly. Florida is also one of the best places to chart your weirdest travel destinations. And who better to chronicle this state’s fabled places, roadside wonders, bizarre beasts, and downright peculiar people than Charlie Carlson, a tenth-generation Floridian. All who know Charlie can testify that he is one very strange dude – and the perfect person to steer you to Florida’s best-kept secrets and oddest legends. Below you will find links to some of the weirdest Florida stories, but remember, the tales on this website are only the tip of the iceberg. To get the full weirdness we recommend you buy Weird Florida the book…

ABANDONED:
Devil’s School #4
Forgotten Gateway
Nike Missle Base
Old Citrus Packing House
Osceola Bank Vault
Popash School
Sunland Hospital
Xanadu

ANCIENT MYSTERIES
Fountain of Youth Burial Ground
Miami Mystery Circle
New Smyrna Ruins
Okeechobee Burial Ground
Wakulla Volcano

BIZARRE BEASTS:
Bardin Booger
El Chupacabra
Skunk Ape

CEMETERY SAFARI:
Brownie Grave
Devil’s Chair
Elena Milagro Hoyos
Horse Grave
Jackie Gleason’s Grave
Key West Graves
Lynard Skynard VanZant
Middle of Road Grave
Phillip’s Mausoleum
Pyramids
Rooster Graveyard

FABLED PEOPLE AND PLACES:
Christmas, FL
Fountain of Youth
Garden of Eden
Gibsonton
Hollow Earth

GHOSTS:
Ashley’s Ghost
Cassandaga
Catalina’s Ghost
Huguenot Cemetery
Midnight in the Castillo
Old Firehouse
Robert the Living Doll
St. Francis Inn

LOCAL LEGENDS:
Devil’s Millhopper
Devil’s Tree
Haunted Oaks – Deadman’s Trees
Tallahassee Witch Grave
Wiccademous Path

PERSONALIZED PROPERTIES:
House of Statues
American Dreyfus
Bowling Ball House
Gothic Garden
Mafia House?
Opa-Locka-Baghdad
Solomon’s Castle

ROADSIDE ODDITIES:
800 Year Old Building
Alligators
Big Tree
Bongoland
Crashed Planes
Drive-in Church
Mile Marker Zero
Miracle Wall
Most Unusual Monument
Panther Crossing
Possum Monument
Presidents Hall of Fame
Smalles Police Station
Smallest Post Office
Southernmost Point
Tallest Cross
Zero Milestone

ROAD LESS TRAVELED:
Blood Bucket Road
Green Briar Road
Magnolia Creek
Old Red Eyes-Kingsley Road
Rolling Acres Road
Route 4 Dead Zone
Suicide Road

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA:
Booming Sounds
Carnivorous Cloud
Coral Castle Photos
Oviedo Lights
Spook Hill

These Graves From Around The World Are Sweet, Strange And Just Bizarre.

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These Graves From Around The World Are Sweet, Strange And Just Bizarre.
OMG  ———  By Michael Cahill
NOVEMBER 10, 2014
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Graveyards are creepy places to be, there’s no way around that. Sometimes though, the gravestones can be so much spookier than the graveyard itself. Takes these 23 graves for example.

They’re the strangest, most bizarre, and most heartbreaking gravestones we could find.

1.) Weeping at the piano. I wonder if she played…

2.) This woman really loved her Micky Mouse.

3.) I hope this guy didn’t die of anything smoking related.

4.) The grave of a maze maker. Could you solve it?

5.) Sleeping forever.

6.) A tree taking over an old grave.

7.) From a graveyard in Paris, France. It’s a hauntingly beautiful gravestone.

8.) A heart broken mother had this grave designed for her deceased 10-year-old daughter in 1871. While she was alive, the daughter was terrified of storms. The grave was constructed with an entrance that descends to the level of the coffin. Her mother would come and enter the tomb during storms to comfort her child.

9.) This life size girl in the glass box grave was commissioned by the girl’s mother.

10.) This is the grave of a 16-year-old girl. Her sister has this life-sized gravestone commissioned for her.

11.) Endless love, from Thailand.

How Did Bob Dylan Get So Weird?

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HOW DID BOB DYLAN GET SO WEIRD?

Bob Dylan, 1964
Photo: © Daniel Kramer.

In August, a Bob Dylan album may well arrive in stores concrete and virtual. It may be called Shadows in the Night. It may have a song called “Full Moon & Empty Arms” on it; a stream of the tune was released without comment on his website a couple of months ago. Why Dylan chose to record a cover of an old Sinatra track isn’t clear; it may, or may not, be a clue that the purported album will consist of covers. Dylan has just finished shows in Japan, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia; will head next to Australia and New Zealand; and may or may not be preparing for a swing through the U.S. in the fall.

We think of Dylan in a pantheon of great rock stars, at or near the top of a select list that includes the Stones, Springsteen, maybe U2, but not too many other active artists. But he behaves much differently. He’s released more albums than Bruce Springsteen in the past 25 years and played more shows than Springsteen, the Stones, and U2 combined. Yet he hardly ever does interviews and does virtually nothing to publicize his albums or tours. For someone who seems to be in such plain sight, he remains hidden, present but opaque, an open book written in cipher. Normal questions don’t seem to do him justice. You want to ask: What is Bob Dylan? Why is Bob Dylan? After listening to him since I was a kid and seeing him live for—gulp—nearly 40 years, I think I’m beginning to figure it out.

You have to start by disregarding the well-told narrative: The soi-disant vagabond’s rise through folk music to a place of utter domination at the highest level of literate, passionate, and difficult pop and rock music, all by 1966; a retreat and Gethsemane until 1974, when he came back, roaring and vengeful, more passionately focused than before, adding a remarkable personal dimension to his ’60s work. After that, depending on how generously you view his career, there has been either a long decline or decades of remarkable and kaleidoscopic creativity, culminating in the triumphs, late in life, of his five most recent albums.

For an artist as rooted in our musical culture as Dylan, the linearity of a narrative works more to disconnect him from the influences and traditions his work comprises than to explain him. First, you have to appreciate the many layers that make up his peculiar but unmistakable aesthetic. His work is grounded in acoustic folk-blues—­ballads, chants, and love stories, populated with mystical or just plain weird meanings and themes, rattling and farting around like tetched uncles in the attic of our American psyche. To this add the dread-filled dreamscapes—unexplainable, ­unnerving—of French Surrealism, and then, arrestingly, the punchy patois of the Beats, who originally intuited the substratum of social stresses that would whipcrack across the ’60s and into the ’70s. Then factor in personal songwriting, a strain of pop he basically invented, doled out first with obfuscations, payback, tall tales, and lies—some by design, some on general principle, some just to be an asshole—and then the signs, here and there (and then everywhere, the more you look), of autobiographical happenstance and deeply felt emotion.

And remember that some of his narratives are fractured. Time and focus shift; first person can become third; sometimes more than one story seems to be being told at the same time (“Tangled Up in Blue” and “All Along the Watchtower” are two good examples). And then there’s plain sonic impact: Even his earliest important songs have a cerebral and reverberating authority in the recording, his voice sometimes filling the speakers, his primitive but blistering guitar work adding confrontation, ease, humor, anger, and contrariness, presenting all but the most unwilling listeners with moment after moment of incandescence.

And, finally, a key component often overlooked: Dylan’s artistic process. On a fundamental level, he doesn’t trust mediation or planning. The story of his recording career is littered with tales of indecisive and failed sessions and haphazard successful ones, in both cases leaving frustrated producers and session people in their wake. You could say the approach served him well during his early years of inspiration and has hobbled him in his later decades of lesser work. Dylan doesn’t care. During the recording of Blood on the Tracks,which may be the best rock album ever made, one of the musicians present heard the singer being told how to do something correctly in the studio. Dylan’s reply: “Y’know, if I’d listened to everybody who told me how to do stuff, I mightbe somewhere by now.”

He came to New York in early 1961, telling anyone who’d listen he’d ridden the rails, played with Buddy Holly, all sorts of nonsense. In reality, he was a fairly middle-class kid who’d hitchhiked, in winter, from the far north of Minnesota; in a way, this single act of propulsion toward reinvention by a 19-year-old is braver and more interesting than all his later tall tales of travel. He arrived in New York on the coldest day the city had seen in many years.

He was a prodigy, with a natural affinity for a medium that would, unexpectedly, afford a few people like him international acclaim and a permanent place in the cultural firmament, and lots of money too. His uncanny musicianship—producing enduring melodies and lovely harmonica solos—included an ability to effortlessly transpose keys that would impress professionals throughout his career. He also had a first-class mind, quick (almost too quick) of wit and relaxed enough to let inspiration flow without forcing it, yet also wiry, retaining permanently the complex wording of many hundreds of tunes. He soaked up the songs and the lore of folk and blues, cobbling together a shtick—an Okie patois, a shambling affect, and a fixation with Woody Guthrie, the socialist troubadour of the ’30s and ’40s and the author of “This Land Is Your Land,” who at the time was dying in a New Jersey hospital. It all served to disguise, at first, a mysterious charisma—with eyes, as Joan Baez remembered them later, “bluer than robin’s eggs”—and an apparent ambition that left a few damaged friendships, and egos, in its wake.

Baez, stentorian and humorless, recorded her first album in 1960 and was a star the next year. (She moved to Carmel and bought a Jaguar.) Dylan got an early rave in the New York Times, which led to his record contract. His second album contained several tracks that became standards. One, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” was a strikingly imagistic portrait of a child returning from a journey to impart wisdom to an older generation. It’s the place where Dylan’s self-definition begins to merge with his songs. On his third and fourth albums, Dylan showed he was capable of increasing nuance. “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” the compellingly told true story of a barmaid carelessly killed by a moneyed young drunk, still able to make one’s blood boil, never mentions Carroll’s race.

At the same time, his mash-up of influences was creating deeper, subtler work, producing mysterious moments like the end of “Boots of Spanish Leather.” The song, spare and lulling, is a dialogue between the singer and his lover, who’s going on a journey. The woman wants to bring the guy back a present; the guy keeps saying he wants nothing besides her return. She finally says she won’t be coming back for a while—at which point the guy asks for a gift: some “Spanish boots of Spanish leather.” It’s not clear why the word Spanish is repeated. Maybe the guy’s heart was broken, or maybe the woman was right—he did just want something from her. But there’s a self-referential meaning to the song as well: Dylan’s own journey. Stars, after all, promise devotion to their fans and then disappear, leaving a simulacrum of their former selves that fans can never get something authentic from.

Beginning in 1965, in a 14-month rush, Dylan released three albums—Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde—each with two or three (very) major songs, three or four relatively minor (but still mind-blowing) efforts, and some doggerel and fun for leavening, all in a great spew of poetic verbiage. Dylan’s voice had deepened and matured; it rang with clarity, snickered with derision, led us compellingly, at its best hypnotically, through nightmares and fever dreams. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” introduced a modern, rock-and-roll Dylan, blasting off political aphorisms softened with absurdities—“Don’t follow leaders / Watch the parking meters.” Lacerating new epics made his old epics seem trite. Take “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”; the title, and a potent Cold War reference in the first line, fixes our narrator seemingly as a wounded soldier, who then spends the rest of a very long song reflecting on the society he’s dying for. “Like a Rolling Stone” captured the second half of the decade in advance, a Scud missile of mockery directed at an entire pampered generation adrift. When Dylan howled the words “no direction home,” it was hard to tell if his tone was exultant or pained; it was a conundrum he and his audience have gnawed at ever since. In a telling example of how Dylan’s words can leapfrog meanings across decades, the song’s final silky lines—“You’re invisible now / You’ve got no secrets to conceal”—capture precisely the predicament of a new generation paradoxically rendered faceless by electronic connectivity and yet entirely without privacy.

Bob Dylan in Bratislava, Slovakia, 2010.

Dylan’s remarkable work from this period is sometimes trivialized by stories about how he freaked everyone out by “going electric.” In I’m Not There, his cubistic cinematic portrait of Dylan, Todd Haynes represents the moment with the singer and his band mowing the crowd down with machine guns. Please. There were some boos at the Newport Folk Festival when Dylan and his electric band played there. But at least some of the reaction came from the high volume and poor sound quality of the performance, which was, after all, at a folk festival. Meanwhile, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was Dylan’s first Top 40 hit, and “Like a Rolling Stone,” an unprecedented six minutes long, went to No. 2. Dylan’s move to electric is of course a key moment in his musical growth, and an interesting footnote in the history of 1960s American folk; but it was not a thumb in the eye of propriety. Everyone liked it!

Dylan is intensely private. More than almost any star I can think of, our understanding of his personal life is occluded and disjointed. His first wife was Sara Dylan, née Sara Lownds, née Shirley Noznisky. When they met, she was married to a guy in publishing in New York; early in their relationship, Dylan mentioned to an interviewer that he’d met a woman named Sara and that she was one of only two truly “holy people” he had ever met. (The other was Allen Ginsberg, though Ginsberg had never done a stint as a Playboy bunny.) “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” is widely seen as a tribute to Sara; it has a title that suggests the name Lownds and other lyrical hints (“Your magazine husband / Who one day just had to go”) and is placed ostentatiously to fill up the entire final side of Blonde on Blonde. Dylan’s memoir, Chronicles: Volume 1, some of which may be true, is at its most dyspeptic when the singer describes the hordes of hippies impinging on his and his family’s life by the mid-’60s. Using a motorcycle accident as an excuse, Dylan retreated in 1966 and began releasing country-flavored albums at long intervals to dampen his celebrity. In the meantime, he and Sara raised an eventual family of five in peace. The names and number of his children were widely misunderstood until the publication ofDown the Highway, a powerful, definitive biography by Howard Sounes, in 2001. (The children are Maria, from Sara’s first marriage; Jakob, whom you know from the Wallflowers; Jesse, a Hollywood and new-media guy, director of Will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” Obama music video; Anna, an artist who stays out of sight; and Samuel, a photographer who keeps a low profile as well. This is not to mention his second, secret wife and at least one other acknowledged child, but that’s a tale for another time.)

Dylan emerged in the mid-’70s to tour with the Band, release two of his strongest albums (Blood on the Tracks and Desire), and embark on a nutty and hilarious gypsy-­caravan tour dubbed the Rolling Thunder Revue. His relationship with Sara was strained at this point, though she came along on the tour and even starred in his bizarre four-hour movie, Renaldo & Clara. But in the end, Dylan’s womanizing fueled what became a bitter divorce. His most plainly personal album is Blood on the Tracks, a lancing portrait of a romantic death spiral. (Jakob has said he gets no pleasure from listening to it: “When I’m listening to Blood on the Tracks, that’s about my parents.”) Among (many) other things, Blood on the Tracks is an exercise in emotional intensity, from self-pity and anger to ruefulness. There are obvious references to his wife in the wrenching “Idiot Wind” and also at the beginning of “Tangled Up in Blue” (“She was married when we first met / Soon to be divorced”). Blood on the Trackswas recorded in bizarre circumstances, first in New York and then more than half of it rerecorded in Minneapolis with a pickup band; yet its shuddering atmospherics and controlled, specific writing combined to make it the most organic and emotionally fulfilling work in Dylan’s canon.

The Rolling Thunder Revue saw the return of the lovely Baez; she sang “Diamonds & Rust,” her greatest song, a poison­-­pen love letter to Dylan, and did the frug behind Roger McGuinn during “Eight Miles High.” A decade on, in the ’80s, she and Dylan toured again, this time in Japan, with what was supposed to have been shared star billing. Baez inevitably became an opening act and eventually told the tour to fuck off, as she later told the story. Granted an exit audience with Dylan, she found him an aged version of the immature ragamuffin. He was tired but slipped his hand up her skirt for old times’ sake.

The next two decades were tough for him artistically; as Greil Marcus has put it, Dylan was essentially committing a “public disappearance.” Beginning in 1979, he tested his audience’s expectations and goodwill more tellingly than any punk by releasing three albums of unimaginative Christian-themed songs, along with two tours in which he plowed stolidly through this material. The problem was not Dylan’s beliefs, though they leaned to the crackpot; lots of acts had religious leanings—Van Morrison among them. It was how Dylan articulated those beliefs. To listen to the albums today is to enter a (not very) fun house of mediocrity and intolerance.

Dylan began to produce his own albums. He wasn’t dogmatic about it; he would once in a while bring in an outside ­producer—Mark Knopfler helped on ­Infidels, and Daniel Lanois superimposed a decent setting (and demanded a suite of coherent songs) for Oh Mercy. Other albums from the ’80s and ’90s were weirdly inconsistent in the quality of both the songs and the production values. Even weirder is the fact that Dylan was actually writing and recording some of his best work during this time. “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar, “Blind Willie McTell,” “Caribbean Wind,” “Foot of Pride,” “Series of Dreams” … Authoritative and undeniable, they were better than anything his contemporaries were then releasing. Unfortunately, they were also better than anything Dylan was releasing and only turned up later on compilations albums.

In 1997, Lanois returned for Time Out of Mind. The critics went nuts over this work and the four regular releases since. I think these albums are woefully overrated, but they have sold well, and with the critics behind them, too, I’m willing to acknowledge the disconnect may be mine. But deep down I know that it’s hard to find, over the past ten or 15 years, more than three or four songs you’d stick on a mix tape to try to convince someone of this singer-songwriter’s greatness. Too many of his recent songs start with a pleasant-enough (or, more often, serviceable) riff—which is then beaten into the ground by his backing band. My hunch is that Dylan, producing in the studio, nods in inscrutable approval when he hears something he likes. The band, nervous but eager to please, obliges and starts playing the damn riff continuously. There’s no outsider around to tweak it or vary it or add dynamics.

In the folk-blues tradition, older songs were reappropriated and built upon; in his later years, Dylan has played with this tradition and found himself in mini-controversies when researchers find that some words in his songs first appeared somewhere else. Amateur sleuths discovered that his album “Love and Theft” had a pattern of lines seemingly taken from a fairly obscure Japanese writer, Junichi Saga. More recently, some obsessives started looking at passages in Chronicles and found lines taken from an astonishing variety of places, from self-help books to The Great Gatsby. The pickings seem to be phrases bouncing around the ragged mind of a guy with a photographic memory. On the other hand, some of the inner workings are plainly mischievous, like an in-passing list of news stories; the headlines were all from a mocking take on the press in John Dos Passos’s U.S.A.

To tweak the purists again, he’ll once in a while appear in a TV commercial—­distracting from the subtle attention he pays to how posterity will see his work. He goes out of his away to appear on awards shows when they beckon; he’s shown his artwork and sells it online; his memoir, while odd, was nonetheless transfixing and reminded us that he was once a young man groping for a future and placing his bets on a very long shot indeed. The Dylan camp is readying an extraordinary digital archive of his songs, recordings, and paraphernalia. Dylan owns a coffeehouse, it’s said, in Santa Monica; unprepossessing and iconoclastic, it has an extremely friendly staff and no Wi-Fi. There’s not much on the walls, but you notice the references contained in what’s there: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Leonardo da Vinci. There’s one big oil painting behind the counter, one that looks a lot like Dylan’s own work, silent and content in the company it keeps.

And then there’s the touring. In Chronicles, Dylan details, with seeming frankness, the aimlessness that brought him to a slough of despond at the end of the ’80s. He may have been facing what all rock stars who survive face, which is how to grow old gracefully in a medium cruelly tied to youthfulness. He resolved to get out and play his songs—and went back on the road in 1988 with a small, seldom-changing backing ensemble, with whom he delved into his back pages, including many songs he’d never played live before.

Here’s the odd thing—26 years on, he hasn’t stopped. He’s been playing about 100 shows annually ever since, growling through a set of songs old and new with a small band. It’s an endeavor that for a good chunk of each year keeps him on a private bus and, in the U.S. at least, in relatively crummy hotel and motel rooms. (He’s said to prefer places that have windows that open and allow him to sleep with his pet mastiffs. Beyond that, they are places fans wouldn’t expect to find him.) The shows at first may have been a tonic, but over time they revealed themselves to be a panacea. It must have struck Dylan: How could he look foolish if he just kept doing the same thing? If he were an artist, he would continue to create and show his art publicly. If he were a celebrity, he would appear in public. And if he were a seer, a prophet, or even a god, well, he would let folks pay and see for themselves how mortal such figures actually were. And far from saturating the market, he has created a new industry for himself as a touring artist. On a good night he makes some of his best-known songs unrecognizable, and on a bad one you come out wondering what it was, exactly, you’ve just seen. So far this year, the 73-year-old has played in Japan (17 shows), Hawaii (two), Ireland, Turkey, and nearly 20 other cities in the hinterlands of Europe; he’s headed now to more than a dozen shows in eight different cities in Australia and New Zealand—and this is before what should be a fall run through the States. Robert Shelton, the New York Times writer who first noticed Dylan, labored on a biography for more than 20 years; seeing the star’s unstable arc on its publication in 1986, he titled it, grandly, No Direction Home. Dylan hadn’t even begun not to go home.

 It strikes me that the one thing all of these bizarre behaviors have in common is that they tend to strip away everything that stands between Bob Dylan’s art and his audience but simultaneously occlude everything else. There was a subtle shift in emphasis in one of his most powerful images, and perhaps a hint of resignation, in the song “Not Dark Yet,” in 1997:

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will

I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still

Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb

I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from

Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from. The exultant cry of “no direction home” derived its power from the fact that, in the end, any place new was better than where we’d come from. In that context, not remembering what you left originally is a remarkable statement of anomie.

Still, we might have focused over the years too much on the word direction, as in “heading toward.”

Maybe “no direction home” means that there’s no guidance home, that you have to figure it out for yourself.

If Bob Dylan is a question, maybe this is the answer. Given the chance, Dylan will give the audience his art, unadulterated, as he creates it, and nothing more. He believes it’s a corruption of his art to be directed by someone else’s sensibility. In its own weird way, isn’t this one sacred connection between artist and audience? It might be nicer if he did things differently. It might be more palatable, more commercially successful. (He might be somewhere by now.) This is what ties together his signal creations, his ongoing shows, and even the wretched albums of the ’80s and ’90s; what he does might be sublime and ineffable or yet also coarse and unsuccessful; it is what it is, defined by where it comes from, not what it should be. Even his remoteness is a by-product; it’s what he deserves after having given his all. Call the work art, call it crap, call it Spanish boots of Spanish leather, but in the end it’s the creation of an artist who defies us to ask for something more.

*This article appears in the July 28, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.

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