Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Amazing Adventures of the Portfolio in the Storage Locker

Putting together a full color portfolio in the 80s was a very different thing from now. I had to shoot 4x5 internegatives to make each 8x10 blowup of a Polaroid, so my portfolio originally cost several hundred dollars to create, zip-up, checkered black-and-white cloth binding, too cool for school. I only had one. (As they got cheaper to produce, I had several. I never stopped giving them out or trying to get my stuff published. This is the story of THAT ONE portfolio, the first I ever made.)

An editor at Spy Magazine had my portfolio and expressed interest in either doing a story about me or hiring me to do a story on someone else. I didn't hear from him for more than a year when I got a call from a janitor who was cleaning out the abandoned offices of Spy Magazine. They had ceased publishing and closed down. Someone had left my portfolio behind in a pile of rubble. Since there was no more mailroom for him to mail it back to me, and since the offices were being closed THAT VERY DAY, the janitor gave me till 6PM to get down there to pick up my portfolio, a bit difficult since Spy was in New York and I was in Los Angeles. Luckily I had a friend in New York, Garry Goodrow, who got to the offices just in time to salvage the portfolio and mail it back to me.

I met Hugh Hefner at a press conference at the mansion. He loved my shot of him and asked for a blow-up for the mansion. I personally gave him the portfolio and he said we'd do something for Playboy, which he was only publishing at the time. One year later I got my portfolio back from the editor of Playboy with a note saying Sorry, my work wasn't right for Playboy.

One day Timothy Leary showed up at my door. He was a birthday present and he spent a couple hours with me. He loved my work, and when he left, he took the portfolio with him, promising to show it around to help me get published or find a gallery. I kept running into him at openings and premieres and he kept promising. Then he died. Then Cristie's auctioned off all his stuff and my portfolio wasn't among them. A year later, I got an e-mail from the woman in charge of keeping the inventory of Leary's stuff. She had my portfolio and wanted to know what I wanted done with it. She gave it to a friend who brought it back to me 10 years after I gave it to Leary.

Doug Edwards, curator for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, took the portfolio and decided to produce a show for the lobby of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. When Karl Malden was voted in as president, he cancelled the show, so we waited two years for him to be voted out of office. The show was back on when Doug suddenly died of AIDS. One year later, three years after Doug had taken it from me, I got it back from the Academy with an apology for not having my show.

The portfolio now sits in a storage locker in Desert Hot Springs waiting for crowdfunding to save it from the dumpster.

http://rockethub.com/projects/705-save-the-polaroids-from-the-dumpster

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dare to eat hemp


Marc Emery was extradited to the United States from Canada for the crime of selling hemp/marijuana seeds that were brought into the United States by others. He agreed to a five year plea bargain after they threatened his family and friends with life sentences. This video was made in front of the court where Emery was being sentenced. Ironically, we ate hemp seeds imported from Canada and sold at a local Whole Foods Market. Free Marc Emery! - Seattle, 9/10/10.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Consequence of the new Google Images

Visitors to my news blog plummeted from around 200 a day to around 2 a day.
How is this Google Images fault? At one abrupt point in my referring URLs, they change from predominantly Google Images to "unknown."
So how come the new Google Images is suddenly ignoring The Daily Freep?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Cider House Rules Rules

Reviewed by Michael Dare

 
At this point, I find the productions of Book-It Repertory inseparable from the books themselves. Every show I've seen has impeccably mirrored the source material. If you didn't like their production of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, it's because you don't like Tom Robbins, not because you don't like Book-It Repertory. They have found a magical spot, right in the middle of literature and theatre and bedtime story, where dad's rendition of Dr. Seuss has been replaced by a brilliant collection of adapters, directors, and performers who miraculously and precisely subjugate their needs to the needs of the original author in spectacular displays of talent and stagecraft.
 
If they're doing a book you love, you will fall in love again. If they're doing a book you haven't read but discover you hate, hey, at least it was over in just a couple hours, and you can sort of say you've read it.
 
I've got my own little list of authors whom, after reading one book of theirs, I said to myself OMG, I must read every single word this writer ever writes, and John Irving is one of them. I read The Cider House Rules when it first came out, didn't like it as much as The World According to Garp, but saw the subsequent movie, enjoyed it, and yet it wasn't till halfway through the Book-It theatrical production that it dawned on me it was a masterpiece, WAY better than Garp, not just good, not just great, but a genuine masterpiece, encompassing the highest possible principles that make up the foundation of Art with a capital A. It's hard to imagine a more sensitive issue treated with more dexterity or vision, more than a novel, more than a play but the most intimate expression of the human condition known to man, to make up stories that encompass everything our pathetic species is up to, seen from every angle, pretending that objectivity is possible while subjecting us to a funhouse mirror of reality where you know it's true, you can feel the truthiness, but it's never looked like this before. If you don't know that art can illuminate, can make you aware of every troubling aspect of life and death, of what we're doing on this planet, that it can ask the deepest of questions in the most profound manner, why do we treat each other so badly and what, just what, can one single man can do about it, you must see this production immediately.
 
Calling it Dickensian is too easy and too apt. Anyone who starts listing the similarities between The Cider House Rules and David Copperfield or Oliver Twist will find themselves in a whirlwind of academic trivia. You do it. It makes no difference. You don't have to have read Dickens to get Irving. When he quotes the opening sentence of David Copperfield, "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show," that's all we need to know. We're going to get variations on that theme brought to an incredible height.
 
There seems to be no question as to who the hero is in the life of Dr. Wilbur Larch, the founder of St. Clouds hospital and orphanage in Maine in the '30s. Just ask the hundreds of orphans and pregnant women who have gone through his door who the hero is of THEIR lives and they will answer Dr. Wilbur Larch.
 
Except for one. Homer Wells is an orphan who literally owes his life to Dr. Wilbur Larch, and yet he makes it his life's quest to be the goddam hero of his own goddam life. To do so, he must rebel against the only authority figure he knows, Dr. Wilbur Larch, for whom he's been participating in abortions for years, and here's where a six-hour theatrical production, broken into two pieces, beats the hell out what we can expect from a mere movie. It's with the telling of Larch's back-story that the melodrama reaches epic proportions.
 
Let's say you're a doctor and a patient is brought to you, a thirteen year old girl, pregnant, for the third time, by her father, a serial rapist, and the previous pregnancies had caused such scarring of the uterus that regular childbirth would be impossible, no choice but a Caesarian if the pregnancy is brought to term, yet it's early enough to simply end the ordeal for the child, a fifteen minute procedure you're completely capable of performing. Such is Wilbur's dilemma.
 
Or let's say you're a teenage orphan who wants to be a doctor asked to participate in surgery that just happens to include the scrapping of a uterus. Would you refuse to participate once you saw in a trash can what was scraped from the uterus, a tiny being that never took a breath? Such is Homer's dilemma.
 
Any theatrical production demands you identify with SOMEONE, whoever's closest to you, but in general we rely upon the dramatist to supply us with a simple protagonist, antagonist, and conclusion. Irving muddies the waters with a protagonist with a protagonist. Homer's savior, Dr. Larch, is clearly the hero of Homer's life since, after all, he's the one that decided to let the pregnancy go to term, since every female visitor to Saint Clouds leaves her baby there, whether born or not. Irving, and his brilliant adapter Peter Parnell, pull off this hat trick with no moralizing or proselytizing, just a lot of compassion. Though it's an incredibly entertaining morality play, it's not a lecture on morality. Irving's too smart for that. He approaches it from every possible viewpoint, women who shouldn't but do, women who should but don't, women who's lives are made better and others much much worse, husbands who want the baby but wives who don't, rejected patients who end up dead by going somewhere else, even the incompetent abortionist who kills as many as they help and they're not evil because, well, at least they're doing something. The subject has never been approached more thoroughly, without lying platitudes or easy slogans, recognizing that the abortion question is as complicated as it gets. Extremely graphic descriptions of the abortion process are accompanied by equally graphic descriptions of sex, treating them both equally, a perfectly rational approach since you can't have one without the other. Irving tells you much more than you ever knew about his subject. He tells you everything but what to think about it, figuring that reality is the best teacher, that you can't make up rules, even in a cider house, that you've got to take everything on a case by case basis. There's an episode of Mad Men where they're given the assignment of trying to find advertisers for an episode of The Defenders about a woman who got an abortion and the best they can come up with is lipstick. Abortion's a hard sell artistically as it's a tricky subject entirely devoid of easy answers. At the end of The Cider House Rules, one would be hard pressed to say whether John Irving was pro or anti, just smart.
 
This production is a perfect example of why the six-hour approach is imperative with certain novels. There's a death by drowning during a log jam in The Cider House Rules, one of many many tidbits left out of the film but left in the play. All the events of Last Night in Twisted River, Irving's latest, are set in motion by a death by drowning during a log jam. Leave the log-jam out of The Cider House Rules and you're leaving out one of the best things about John Irving, the themes and sub-text and entertaining quirks that tie all his work together: the wrestling, the seduction of the innocent, the dismemberments, the logging, the oral sex, the bears, god, what's with the bears. One of the treats of indulging oneself in the work of any great novelist is reveling in their personal obsessions, and Book-It never neglects to give us that same thrill.
 
A massive shout out to director Jane Jones and the entire ensemble cast of nurses, orphans, and derelicts who inhabit this mad world. Every one of them had a moment to shine and that they did. Dr. Larch, one of the most compassionate and empathetic characters of all time, is played by Peter Crook, and his Larch is so on the money, so innately American, it makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking casting a Cockney Michael Caine in the film. Crook is way more like the George C. Scott who played the part in my mind. While most of the characters remain steadfastly who they are, Homer is the one with the arc, the Candide of the piece who grows in front of our eyes, and Conner Toms is well up to the task. I can't wait to see who he eventually becomes in Part 2, coming this fall. 
 
But you've got to see Part 1 first. All you princes of Ivars, you kings of Mercer Island, get thee to Book-It Repertory before it's too late.
 
Through July 11. Get your tickets here.
 
MD
 

"You may disapprove, but you may not be ignorant or look away" —Dr. Larch to Homer




Homer Wells (Connor Toms, left), the never-adopted orphan becomes a surrogate son, and a medical protégé to the orphanage director, Dr. Larch (Peter Crook).  Doctor Larch and nurses (Melinda Deane & Julie Jamieson) help a pregnant patient (Mary Murfin Bayley). Photos by Adam Smith.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Colbert Your Soul



More than six months ago, I made four incredibly stupid entries in the contest to appear on The Colbert Report, all of which are still up at http://community.colbertnation.com/profile/michaeldare. The website provided a zip file of dozens of clips of Colbert that we were invited to edit ourselves into. I went nuts. The front page of the contest is still up at http://community.colbertnation.com/, where one of my videos remains featured, but with NO MENTION OF THE CONTEST. It's like it never happened. No winner has been announced and nobody from the site has appeared on The Colbert Report. It's like the whole thing was a cheap publicity stunt to get a bunch of free material posted to the Comedy Central Site with no intention of ever letting someone on the air. Maybe the moderators didn't really like any of them. Many were even worse than mine. I'm not saying I should have won, I'm saying WTF!? Pick someone else, I don't care, I need closure. I can't live forever with this pathetic dream that someday I'm going to be on The Colbert Report. Would I have to appear as the lunatic character I play in the videos or could I just be myself or, holy self-revelation, maybe there's no difference. Would it be okay to turn my appearance into performance art? Could I jump over the desk and try to strangle him and get taken away in a straightjacket? That would be cool. Right now, life is like a  production of Waiting for Godot with Stephen Colbert as Godot.

Idea #2: We start out having a normal conversation which leads to something like this...

SC: How do you like New York?

MD: A lot of people on the streets asking for money.

SC: Why don't you just ignore them like I do?

MD: I wish I could. I mean when YOU ignore a beggar, it's because you think they should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and they'll probably just spend it on booze, but when I ignore a beggar, it's because I don't have any money to give them.

SC: Good. YOU'D probably spend it on booze.

MD: Let me ask you something, Stephen. How much money do you have in your pocket right now?

SC: I don't know, why?

MD: Because I'd like you to give it to me so I can give it to beggars when I leave the studio.

SC: I don't understand. What do I get out of it?

MD: Satisfaction at having helped somebody who needs it?

SC: BLANK STARE

MD: Okay, look, you can film me giving the money away. That way you can use the footage to show how benevolent you are without ever having contact with an actual homeless person.

SC: So I would look good to liberal dupes in my audience and all it would cost me is the money in my wallet?

MD: You got it.

Stephen hands me 20 five dollar bills.

EXT. COMEDY CENTRAL

I give a five dollar bill to the first homeless person I see.

MD: You see, Stephen, that really felt good.

The homeless person puts a knife to my throat. I give them all the money.

MD: Well, that didn't take as long as I thought it would.

THE END

My ludicrous entries in the "Appear on The Colbert Report by Cutting Yourself into our Footage Contest"

Lunatic on a bus

Lunatic in a basement

Kno-o-o-o-ow!

No-o-o-o-o-o!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20: Draw Muhammad Day


Dareland offers these ASCII and Emoticon versions of Muhammad to cut and paste into your communications on this important day.

......................................▂▃▅▅▅▃▂     ▲◢◤▀◥◣▃ ▍◢◤
..........................▂▅▓▓▅██████▇▅◢██▀   〓 ★ 〓
...................◢▓▓▅███■▀████▓▓█◤    ◢◤ ▍◥◣
..............◢▓▓▆███▀▐ ▊▀▓▀█▓  ▓▲
.........◢▓▓▆██▀ ▼▍▍▲▌▐▓◥█▓▓██◣
....▃ ▓▆███▓ ▍▎▌▍▍▼▍▌▓ █████▅
▐█▓█████▃▼▌▐ ▐ ▌▍▼ ◢█████▓█◣
█▊■██████◣▓ ▌▍▲◥◤ ▅██████▓█▊
◥■ ████████▅▼▀▃▆███████▓▓▼
◢█▲▓████████▆█▀▓▓▓█■▀▓▓▓█▅
███▓▓▀██■▀     ▀■▓▓█▓▓▓▓███
▐██◣▓▓■▀   ▍▎     ▀■▓▓▓▓█■▀
........▀■◢▅▂▅▃ ▐ ▍ ▃▅▂▃▅ ▼◢▓██◤
........... ▌ ▀█■▆▓▓▇■█■▀  ▲█▀
...............▲▀▓◣▀ ◢▍ ▐◣▀ ◢〓◤ ◢■▀
............◢▓█◣ ◥〓▌ ▐◥〓◤  ▃▓◢▉
.........▐▓█▓◣  ◢▍  ▂◣   ◢▓███▋
..........███▓▓ ▐◣▃▅█▅  ▃▓████
.........▼██▆▇█▅ ▀██▅▓▓▓████
............▀███■▀   ◥▌▀■▇█■▀
...............███▀▓▓〓▃〓▓▓▀■▀
................▀■▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓〓▀
...........................▀■▓▓〓▀

………………………………..__…………………………………………
………………………..,-~*’`¯lllllll`*~,……………………………………
…………………..,-~*`lllllllllllllllllllllllllll¯`*-,………………………………
………………,-~*llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll*-,…………………………….
……………,-*llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.\……………………………
………….;*`lllllllllllllllllllllllllll,-~*~-,llllllllllllllllllll\…………………………..
…………..\lllllllllllllllllllllllllll/………\;;;;llllllllllll,-`~-,………………………
…………...\lllllllllllllllllllll,-*………..`~-~-,…(.(¯`*,`,……………………..
…………….\llllllllllll,-~*…………………)_-\..*`*;..)…………………….
……………..\,-*`¯,*`)…………,-~*`~.………….../……………………..
……………...|/.../…/~,…...-~*,-~*`;……………./.\……………………..
……………../.../…/…/..,-,..*~,.`*~*…………….*...\……………………
…………….|.../…/…/.*`...\...……………………)….)¯`~,……………...
…………….|./…/…./…….)……,.)`*~-,……….../….|..)…`~-,………….
……………/./.../…,*`-,…..`-,…*`….,---…...\…./…../..|……...¯```*~-,,,,
…………...(……….)`*~-,….`*\\\\~*.,-*……|…/.…/…/…………\……..
…………….*-,…….`*-,...`~,..``.,,,-*……….|.,*...,*…|…………..\……..
……………….*,………`-,…)-,…………..,-*`...,-*….(`-,…………\…….
……................f`-,………`-,/…*-,___,,-~*….,-*……|…`-,……….\……........
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ________ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . (_________) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . (___________) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .c/ . ʘ. . . . . .ʘ . .P . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . |. . . . . ./ . . . . . .| . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . | . . . .C .) . . . . ./ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .#### . .###### . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . #.^ ______ ^ . .## . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .## .\_______/. .###. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .###############. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . ############# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . ######### . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
..,,,,,─────,,,,,.
/         .. \
/  /      \\.. \、
| //  .____ 丶   ヽ
|   ./      \ \ ヽ|
ヽ/ /::..,,,,,.   ,,,,,,.::.\  ヽ|
ヽ!!l::."⌒`.:i i::'⌒`ヾ.!!|iiiヽ../
;〈..⊂・⊃| |:⊂・⊃.:::〉iii/
\!!, ...//| |ヾ\.....:,;;iii/ 
`lir.... /(,,∪,,)\...Yiiii/
;!iiii彡━━ミll,,lllli<
;;llllllllllilllllllllilllllii;  \
/;llllllllllllllllllllllllll;ヽ  |\
_/ヽ ,;lllllllllllllllllllllll; |  |.....|\_
::::;| ヽヽ,illlllllllllllllllllllll!゙.|  |::::::|::
゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙゙.:| .|..|

____________________________________.,’;_____
_______________.^”¬>-”^._____:”^”‘:;”==|^`___
___________^~jnSUFQ#ERRRWai!6W#£____”-~~^.___
_________!}kzgKNEREPPHBEE#YD##?.____.._______
_______”32*#ENRRAOcr]kXE#0=|s#k^_____________
______!a*WBBBB#65$faoaToWRNKXHHR=____________
_____!XEHBHBH9£YaOTIC£6nyFBBHHBBNt___________
___^D6RHHHBBBVnznCyz*zIo$kHHHHHBN#Gw”________
___+BDHBHBBBBBFfc£OeIIyaQB@BH@BBBR#EF._______
__.XH#BHBBBBBHBWkCcsrsbNBBHHHBHBE#HBm._______
___^NXBBHBHB@HHHH#GQNB#Xg#HE###qQNBZ’________
___uBEA#NBBHHB#Tj=(lnmTgR##D*smKRNRN_________
___=RE#8p0se8|`,,’;`.`/}Vp0gX###NERW”________
_____zqe+tJ=^^^!”=\(i~!?)~{h04#RN2=’_________
________|9fzro!(t1tT%~^;”0f£t^_____________
______`l$&~”=!!^’~j+?^;::”IPP!.______________
______?Geej^,`^;:’.:..,^lP#NU~.______________
_____,D#Xhy=.”;^=0(.:__~PH#RNf;______________
_____.G#H##ZV0zPRN#+!~=vEHN#E6^______________
______|HHB@HREj’(|2QUKSmBBHEQ=.______________
______,#BBHHXo=^^”_+7GXBEBpi^________________
_______~#BN#T6v1[%222aQh&(.__________________
________^!+oeGocL0wa53>,:.”^;._______________
___________.’”"^”"”^^:_______________________
………………….._,,-~’’’¯¯¯’’~-,,
………………..,-‘’ ; ; ;_,,---,,_ ; ;’’-,…………………………….._,,,---,,_
……………….,’ ; ; ;,-‘ , , , , , ‘-, ; ;’-,,,,---~~’’’’’’~--,,,_…..,,-~’’ ; ; ; ;__;’-,
……………….| ; ; ;,’ , , , _,,-~’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ¯’’~’-,,_ ,,-~’’ , , ‘, ;’,
……………….’, ; ; ‘-, ,-~’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’’-, , , , , ,’ ; |
…………………’, ; ;,’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’-, , ,-‘ ;,-‘
………………….,’-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’’-‘ ;,,-‘
………………..,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;__ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘-,’
………………,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘’¯: : ’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; _ ; ; ; ; ;’,
……………..,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;| : : : : : :| ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘’¯: ¯’’-, ; ; ;’,
…………….,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘-,_: : _,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; | : : : : : :| ; ; ; |
……………,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ¯¯ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’-,,_ : :,-‘ ; ; ; ;|
…………..,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,,-~’’ , , , , ,,,-~~-, , , , _ ; ; ;¯¯ ; ; ; ; ;|
..…………,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’ , , , , , , ,( : : : : :) , , , ,’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;|
……….,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’, , , , , , , , ,’~---~’’ , , , , , ,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’,
…….,-‘’ ; _, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘’~-,,,,--~~’’’¯’’’~-,,_ , ,_,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘,
….,-‘’-~’’,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; | ; ; | . . . . . . ,’; ,’’¯ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,_ ; ‘-,
……….,’ ; ;,-, ; ;, ; ; ;, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘, ; ;’, . . . . .,’ ;,’ ; ; ; ;, ; ; ;,’-, ; ;,’ ‘’~--‘’’
………,’-~’ ,-‘-~’’ ‘, ,-‘ ‘, ,,- ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘, ; ; ‘~-,,,-‘’ ; ,’ ; ; ; ; ‘, ;,-‘’ ; ‘, ,-‘,
……….,-‘’ ; ; ; ; ; ‘’ ; ; ;’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘’-,,_ ; ; ; _,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ;’-‘’ ; ; ; ‘’ ; ;’-,
……..,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;¯¯’’¯ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’’-,
……,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; |, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘-,
…..,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;|..’-,_ ; ; ; , ; ; ; ; ; ‘,
….,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; | ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’…….’’’,-~’ ; ; ; ; ; ,’
…,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’~-,,,,,--~~’’’’’’~-,, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’…..,-~’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-
…| ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’…,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘
…’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,’….’, ; ; ; ; _,,-‘’
….’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’…….’’~~’’¯
…..’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;_,,-‘’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘
………’’~-,,_ ; ; ; ; _,,,-~’’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘
………..| ; ; ;¯¯’’’’¯ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,,-‘
………..’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘
…………| ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;|
…………’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ~-,,___ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’,
………….’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘….’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘,
………..,’ ‘- ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘’……….’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘,
……….,’ ; ;’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ,,-‘…………….’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’,
………,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,-‘’…………………’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; |
……..,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,,-‘………………………’’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; |
……..| ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’…………………………,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;,’
……..| ; ; ; ; ; ; ,’………………………..,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,’’
……..| ; ; ; ; ; ;,’……………………….,-‘ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘
……..’,_ , ; , ;,’……………………….,’ ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ,-‘
………’,,’,¯,’,’’|……………………….| ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘--,,
………….¯…’’………………………..’-, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’’~,,
……………………………………………’’-,, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;’’~-,,
………………………………………………..’’-, ; ; ; ; ; ,,_ ; ;’-,’’-,
…………………………………………………..’, ; ; ; ; ; ; ‘-,__,\\--\\.
……………………………………………………’-, ; ; ;,,-~’’’ \\ , ,|, |
………………………………………………………’’~-‘’_ , , ,,’,_/--‘



These Mohammed smileys or emoticons are called ‘Mocons’ or ‘Frowneys’. 

Mocons aka Frowneys are the most efficient way to digitally propagate the maximum amount of Mohammed imagery per byte.
Muhammad (((:~{>
Muhammad playing Little Orphan Annie (((8~{>
Muhammad as a pirate (((P~{>
Muhammad as Moshe Dayan (((P~{>
Muhammad on a bad turban day ))):~{>
Muhammad with sand in his eye(((;~{>
Muhammad wearing sunglasses (((B~{>
Muhammad giving the raspberry. (((:~{>
Giving Muhammad the raspberry. ;-P 
Mohammad with a lit bomb in his turban *-O)):~{> zh3gl.jpg
Mohammad with a lit bomb in his turban *~@:~{>
Mohammed, full of booze and pork, pukes up Allah (((:~Oالله
Intoxicated Mohammed (((‡o{Þ
High Mohammed ((( ¦o) >
The devil Mohammed  ]:~{>
Sombrero Mohommed ⊂∫≡(:~{>>
Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. *@(((:~{>>
Mohammed with a nuclear bomb in his turban. @=(((:~{>
Carmen Miranda Mohammed ڨڭڿۺ((:~{>
Muhammed without beard O:-|
Muhammed without beard; or Jesus O:-)
Muhammed having a vision) O8-)
Muhammed with goatee) O:-)*
Muhammad pissed off that his favourite goat ran away (((B-|>
Muhammad being shot by Starship Enterprise =-o * * * (((:~{>
Mohammed with a lit fuse coming out of his turban *-(((:~{>
Mohammed on a *really* bad turban day )8(:~{>
Muhammad sees a Danish cartoonist !((((8~{o>
Muhammad turns Christian (((+:~{>
Muhammad imitates Charles Manson ((((x8~{>
Muhammad wears his Johnny Carson “Great Carsoni” turban (((0))):~{>
Muhammad after going quail hunting with Dick Cheney (:(:(:((8~>:::::::::::::
Saudi Arabian/oil shiek version of Muhammad (($$(((:~{>
Muhammad wearing his personalized designer turban (((MOE)));~{>
Muhammad wearing his “elevator” turban ((((((((((((((;~{>
Osama bin Laden dressed up as Muhammad on Halloween (((:~{>

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Work With a Writer the Carl Gottlieb Way


by Michael Dare

Carl Gottlieb put it best, though the tape wasn't rolling, we were just hanging out, having bagels on Fountain, so all I've got to give you is my lame memory of what he said. You've got to believe me that Carl put it better because he's one of the greatest writers in Hollywood (Jaws, The Jerk, WGA hotshot) so he should know. He tried to explain to me what the relationship was between a producer and a writer, or a book editor and a writer, or a newspaper editor and a writer, ANY relationship in which someone is paying someone else to write.

The writer knows what he's supposed to be doing, writing, and if he's a writer, he knows how to do it, rain or shine, writing will happen.

But his boss? Whoever's PAYING him to write? What do they have to do to encourage the emergence of the best possible writing from their employee?

To discover the answer, all you have to do is create an analogous situation, another job where someone is hired to build something, let's say a wall instead of a script, using bricks instead of words.

As the employer, you've hired someone to lay those bricks. You've seen other walls the bricklayer has built and were impressed, which is why you hired them.

But on the first day of work, they show up with weights attached to their arms. You watch them work and can't help noticing they're going slow, sweating enormously, and taking breaks every ten minutes. You go up to them and say "Hey, why don't you take those weights off your arms?"

"Good idea," says the mythical bricklayer, "why didn't I think of that?" And so he takes off the weights and whatayuh know, he picks up speed, stops sweating, and takes less breaks.
Writers use their brains, not their brawn, so it's the duty of anyone hiring a writer to remove the weights from their brains. Find out what they're worrying about. Relieve the worries and the writing will go better. You want maximum brainpower, you won't get it from someone worried about ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, important or trivial, whatever it is, the gin soaked mind of your average writer will be able to justify NOT writing by any means necessary. You don't cure writer's block by building anything, you do it by tearing something down, whatever dam is jamming up the imagination, send out the brain commandos to obliterate the hindrance.

So ask your writer if there's anything bothering them. Let 'em get it off their chest, then do something about it. Yeah, hiring a writer can actually be harder than being one. Being a writer, the only demons you have to battle are your own.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

10 Questions for Neil Innes



The last time I saw Neil Innes was with Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl and he showed the audience his butt after singing Sit on my Face and Tell Me That You Love Me, so I wasn't expecting reverence when I bopped to see him at The Triple Door, an incredibly beautiful refurbished burlesque house blocks from the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. I'm not saying you have to be drunk to see a show there, just that happy hour should legally have to precede every concert in America.

I'm happy to report that seeing Neil Innes live is a joyous experience. Whether you know his work or not - and if you don't, what the hell's the matter with you - his warmth and humor are sure to win you over. What's overwhelming about seeing Neil Innes in concert isn't just the astounding catalogue of entertaining material, his mastery of parody, and the toe-tapping rhythms of the classic songs. It's not just the jokes and stories from his extraordinary career or the simple pleasure of seeing that guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail sing "He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp. Or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken. To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away and his limbs all hacked and mangled, Brave Sir Robin." All of that I was expecting.

What surprised me, what you rarely learn from simply seeing someone in concert, is the basic core of decency that shines through everything Neil Innes does, a philosophy that somehow makes none of the jabs nasty at all but a plea from the heart for compassion toward your fellow man. I came to be enthralled by the entertainer and left in admiration of the human being. When he sings "Old Age Becomes Me," you'll think Damn right.

He placates his rabid fans with ancient music hall songs, highlights from The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and the Rutles (WARNING: if you listen to the Rutles' Archeology before hearing the Beatles, you will never, ever, be able to figure out who was making fun of who), but it's mainly the new material that rocks. At various times you will be reminded of Randy Newman, John Prine, the Beatles, the Kinks, XTC, Elton John, and Tom Lehrer, a rockin' sorta heartfelt folkie political activist with a PhD level sense of humor.

I love seeing Mick Jagger in concert but I'm not really sure I like the guy. He seems like sort of a dick. Though their music is diametrically different, the vibe off Neil Innes is more like that of Bruce Springsteen. You don't just love the music. You love the humble sincerity. I liked him so much that now I feel bad for all the cheap laughs I got at his expense in the above video.

At one point, after moving from the guitar to the piano, he noticed the guitar stand was blocking my view and he got up to move it, just for me. How can you not love a performer who does that? Go out and see him if he's anywhere near. Maybe he'll move a prop for YOU.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scumbags of the Week

http://www.oregonjail4judges.org/Oregon_Supreme_Court_web.jpg
The Oregon Supreme Court who ruled today that medical marijuana patients can be fired from their jobs even if they have a state issued card authorizing its use.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Manic Depression

Xtra Normal is a new site where, with enough drugs, you too can create a fucked up cartoon like this one...
 

Monday, January 18, 2010

As Smart as Comedy Gets - The Firesign Theatre on Whidbey Island


 
I conjure up the Firesign Theatre at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, Phil Austin
Photo by Drew Kampion

1/08/10

It took a walk in the rain to a bus to a train to a walk in the rain to a ferry to Whidbey Island to another bus to see the Firesign Theatre perform. Along the way, I discovered that a relaxed and certainly prerecorded "Doors Closing" has replaced "All Aboard!" as the announcement of preference before the train takes off in the year 2010. It was a beautiful trip, the Sounder train from the King Street Station in downtown Seattle hugs the coast north to the ferry terminal in Mukilteo, passing the Edgewater Inn, the entrance to Hempfest and the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, and Myrtle Edwards Park and wham,  a train going in the other direction, blocking your view of Magnolia and the bluffs, passing the locks, crossing a salmon ladder, water, bridges, water, more bridges, the Golden Gardens, the marina, winter, dark early, hard to differentiate between sky and land, all in the rain, a whacked out watercolor of mayhem occasionally blitzed by car lights into fragments of kaleidoscopic splendor, intensifying my total bogglement that the original Firesign Theatre, the comedic masters of surrealism and anarchy, are still together after 43 years, will be performing tonight, and I'm lucky enough to get to see them.

The train allows me to plug in and log on. I Google the Firesign Theatre on a train to the Firesign Theatre and discover to my horror that a lot of people don't know the difference between the words THEATER and THEATRE, so let's get this over with. It's not just one of those British vs. American spelling differences for the same word like "favor" and "favour," the two words actually mean something different. When you enter the theater, you're going into a building. When you enter the theatre, you're going into a profession. This is important to know if you're going to see the Firesign Theatre, four performers creating a theatrical event, but thinking you're going to see the Firesign Theater, a building used to put on theatrical presentations. You can have a "theatrical" experience outside a "theater," but "theaters" would be ridiculous places if there weren't any "theatre."

Further diving into the Firesign online reveals vast universes of fandom and minutia. The troll in me wants to start a not-so-raging debate concerning whether The Firesign Theatre or Monty Python are the Beatles of comedy. Never one to lose an argument with myself, fully believing it's Firesign all the way, I am unsettled to discover there are arguments to be made both ways. Monty Python was British. So were the Beatles. There are only four members of the Firesign Theatre. There were only four Beatles. Someone less twitchy might just call it quits right there but not I.

Born out of radio, where nothing is more evil than dead space, the boys learned to just keep talking and talking and talking, each capable of a multitude of voices, getting precise and calculated and subtle and over-the-top with references meant for MENSA, their mastery of recording finally culminating in genuine theatrical events for the mind.

Released in 1970, Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers is the first concept comedy album meant to be heard from the beginning of side one to the end of side two and is easily the Firesign's Sgt. Pepper. "Their next release, I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus is easily their Magical Mystery Tour," says Fred Further of Further Analogies 'R' Us, specialists in dead horse beating.

The Firesign were certainly the first to use the simple sound effect of changing channels to take you from here to somewhere else. I don't know if any of the Pythons have ever fessed up to listening to the Firesign Theatre but their surreal transitions were Firesign all the way, making one imagine an alternative history where Terry Gilliam never makes it abroad and teams up with the Firesign Theatre instead of the Pythons. (Note to self. Start a petition at petitions.com demanding Terry Gilliam direct the film version of I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus.)

Before the Firesign Theatre, recordings of "theatre" were actual multi-record box sets of audio recordings of Broadway plays of which, I admit, I owned quite a few, and you can file under deep obscuradalia the fact the audio version of Luv, the Broadway play by Murray Schisgal starring Alan Arkin, was much funnier than Luv, the movie starring Jack Lemmon (but got Arkin the part of the lead in The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming anyway).

Before the Firesign Theatre, comedy albums were Shelley Berman and Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby and Lenny Bruce and Allan Sherman, comedians being funny in what were essentially recorded stage shows. Firesign Theatre albums showed up just as stoners were discovering the insane pleasure of listening to Sgt. Pepper with the headphones on, picking up every nuance. For the very first time, there were COMEDY albums worth listening to with the headphones on, which means the Firesign Theatre did for comedy albums precisely what the Beatles did for rock. Listening to them for the first time was revelatory, comedy was too weak a word, comedy just one of many things the Firesign Theatre embraced. If I ran the record store, I would have filed them under Irony or Surrealism. It was mindfuck comedy, the jokes and sound effects and music and voices combining in such a way as to almost but not quite add up to a visual picture that made the slightest shred of sense. Two people listening to the same track on headphones with their eyes closed were sure to conjure up entirely different retina movies since it's all from a non-linear dream state. When everyone on the bus in Bozos goes "whoa," you're forced to picture SOMETHING that made them do it, and your picture can't be the same as mine. Deprived of visuals, the Firesign create theatre that dares you to figure out what's going on, where you have to PAY ATTENTION because missing one little thing could make it all incomprehensible.*

* Not that hearing the whole thing perfectly will make something comprehensible that wasn't meant to be so in the first place. Another section my mythical record store owner might file his Firesign records is under Symbolism, a theatre where it's possible to read everyone's thoughts and there's no turning back, wherever they take you, whether a missing Sherlock Holmes episode or an amusement park in the future, it's all a dream within a dream within a dream, a world where the mere mention of the words "Hideo Knutt's Boltadrome" sends paroxysms of pleasure through the cerebral cortex, where Burroughs' random cut-up act reigns supreme, albums full of precognition. (When the announcer in Bozos instructs everyone to let the air out of their shoes, what was completely ridiculous in 1971 would make a modern listener just think they were all wearing Air Jordans.)



In this video, Proctor and Bergman describe the LA show, which seems very much the one I saw.

So here I am, in the lobby, before the show, an hour early, typing away, wondering whether seeing them in person will completely fuck up the magic, after all, I'm used to hearing them as characters I've created in my mind over years of intense listening.

Four microphones. Four chairs. That's it.

They come out, start talking, and you realize the Firesign can stretch a joke like taffy, way past the feasibility point, a game show where contestants have to guess what disease they were just injected with or die, a disappearing high school, a confused teenager and his 70-year-old best friend Mudhead, an entire synthesized Shakespeare play with sexual innuendo the Bard himself would have stolen in a flash had he been there, the train-of-thought school of comedy brought to you by Ralph Spoilsport of Spoilsport Motors, with so many lefts and rights you need a cosmicomic GPS to keep your sense of magnetic north, impossible to laugh at what's happening when you're just catching up with what they said five seconds ago.

The show had few sound effects other than the ones coming out of their mouths, and all used strangely. One of them stretched out his arm, followed by a sound effect of a glass breaking, followed by another of them saying "he knocked over a sound effect." In one bit, a bunch of characters all had monikers that were the names of obscure streets in Hollywood, hilarious to me because I once lived in Hollywood but which must have meant diddly to the audience on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound of the Great Northwest. Another bit, I'm sorry, you won't get it unless you've read Ulysses.

It was a completely inspirational experience, only modified by the hapless schmuck sitting next to me who left during intermission. Let's eavesdrop on his brain for a second, shall we?

Let's say you'd never heard of the Firesign Theatre but you lived on an island and your wife kept insisting you needed some culture in your life so you allowed yourself to be dragged to a "Center for the Arts" to witness the reunion of four "comedians" whose albums you'd never heard. The first ten minutes of the act in front of you would have been mind-boggling incomprehensible and impossible to follow, no less mysterious than the cascades of laughter from the audience at things that not only weren't funny but made absolutely no sense at all. Finally, when it settled down into something resembling what you previously might have considered to be an actual "comedy routine," with a premise you understood and punchlines that were tied to the premise, WHOOSH, they're off again into verbal lalaland, obviously quoting from sacred text you've never read but fully understood by the sold-out crowd around you who get it all, every pun and conundrum. You're like Penny trying to keep up with the major geniuses next door, but making Sheldon and Leonard look like corncob salesmen, no dumbing it down for the prime-time crowd, give 'em Sartre with a dash of Ionesco, venturing into surreality is never casual, you could end up anywhere, your thoughts start to wander, what the fuck, you fell asleep, or did you?, are those guys still talking, geez, what the hell are they talking about, you thought it was a game show but now it seems to be the trenches in WWI, it's like you're an alien tuning in on transmissions from earth but unable to lock in on a signal for more than a minute, bopping from one reality to another, where the focus, get this, isn't on the reality of any particular scene but upon the transition.

Yeah, I couldn't blame him for leaving. More room for me.

People who don't get it don't realize that's the point, you don't get them, they get you, right where they want you, they've got your preconceptions in their crosshairs ready to blast them to smithereens because Everything You Know is Wrong, that's right, absolutely everything, which in my case I know to be completely correct, I know nothing, I just remember things, and not particularly well or in the right order, so don't let them fool you, it's you who are deceived. (Get it? No? Good, you're not supposed to, which only proves my point.)

Phil Austin says "The Firesign Theatre writes communally. Every word goes through four heads for approval. We therefore write very slowly. Our energy level is intense. Grown men leave the room when we fight with each other. Nothing is sacred."

With wordplay so fast and furious you can't possibly keep up, the Firesign Theatre are the Cirque du Intellect, the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle of comedy, four brains moving four times as fast as yours, absolutely, no contest, as smart as comedy gets.

Martian Space Party: Firesign Theatre part 2

Firesign Theatre
Upcoming Live Performances
 
Kirkland Jan 22 & Jan 23
(7:30 PM, festival seating, arrive early)
 
Tacoma Jan 24
(3:00 PM and 7:30 PM)
 

The Firesign Theatre
Continue to the Firesign Theatre website...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tales from the House of Glitch #3: The Unfriending



The Unfriending

Alicia took the WIFI for an extra $40 a month but skipped the cable, figuring if there was ever anything on TV that she needed to see, she could find it on the internet and watch it on her laptop, and she was right. On the internet she found much more than mere cable could offer. She found companionship and a sense of community that only got deeper the more she never left the room. She had a major glitch, as did everyone in the House of Glitch, where those without glitches need not show their smug, self-satisfied faces. The internet was Alicia's major glitch. She barely made it to the bathroom, holding it in for as long as she could before putting her online on hold and venturing out of her cozy room into the common hallway to the common bathroom where she might run into someone common with their own major glitch and have to strike up a conversation when really, OMG, she just wanted to pee, she really didn't want to actually talk to someone, not someone with a glitch, not without spell-check, not without the ability to EDIT before SENDING. Speaking involved communication she couldn't take back so she preferred to not even try. Her only real friends were online.

Ed couldn't remember ever friending Alicia on Facebook but it was obviously a mistake. How could he have been so stupid.

At first, all his friends were his actual friends, people he knew, or people who knew people he knew, with an actual verified degree of separation between Ed and everyone on his friend list. Then strangers started showing up, people asking to be friended but with whom he didn't share a friend. He was a popular writer who decided to let in people who were clearly fans of his work and who didn't seem like serial killers, but it was with trepidation because he didn't actually KNOW them. Who knew how they would behave. Friending them meant letting their comments post to his page. He had suffered the horrors of friending two old friends, exes, who were horrified to find themselves back in contact with each other, but what was he to do when both requested to friend him? He had to say yes, which turned out to be a bad idea. Neither wanted each others comments to show up on the other's pages so they both unfriended Ed, who found himself with two less Facebook friends. It hurt.

He had crafted his Facebook friend list to include his version of an intellectual elite, the very people he'd like to materialize into a dinner party at the Ritz where he was the host, introducing raconteurs and wits to each other, then sitting back in astonishment at the quality of the repartee.

One day, it happened, a casual comment had somehow turned into a miracle of banter, a dream conversation about a glitch where everyone got the joke and was riffing on it as if it were real, the ultimate back-and-forth repartee Facebook was meant for, and everyone was participating, even famous people on his friend list who never posted anything. He had gathered just the right combination of literates who ALL got the joke and immediately responded with flash and hilarity, like a New Yorker cartoon where a couple of scientists are convulsing with laughter over some formula that takes up the whole blackboard, in on a joke no one else would ever get but them.

Except for Alicia. She didn't get the joke. She thought it was a serious conversation. The ghost of Alicia's dead mother told her to "Go ahead and post, you're swimming with the big boys, you know what they're talking about, you've got something intelligent to add to the discussion, I mean why not," nagged her mother, "maybe you'll meet someone nice." Alicia responded to Ed's Facebook page as though the conversation were serious and the entire concept being batted back and forth was actually possible instead of completely ridiculous figments of the imaginations of the hand selected group of VERY clever people who were Ed's Facebook friends.

Ed and his friends couldn't believe it. To them, Alicia was a cyber version of Penny, the ditzy next door neighbor of Sheldon and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory, a layman clearly incapable of following their BRILLIANT train of thought. All Ed's Facebook friends could do was make fun of her, and make fun of her they did, reply after reply, hilarious, scathing, wicked, entertaining to everyone but Alicia, who perceived herself as being the butt of all these jokes, not realizing being the butt of a joke can be a good thing if you just play along but she couldn't, she hadn't studied improv, she didn't know the "yes, and" rule, she was in too deep, she couldn't keep up, she had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, she tried to be cute about it, sent an emoticon that clearly represented "aw shucks," but they made fun of the emoticon, piling it on, when suddenly, there it was, in her status. Ed had unfriended her.

After Alicia was found catatonic by one of her glitchy neighbors and removed from the House of Glitch to a state mental institution, the neighbor stole her computer and logged onto her Facebook page, saw the unfriending, and sent Ed a message from his own Facebook page telling him what happened to Alicia. Ed felt so guilty he refriended her. "Unfriending someone is sort of harsh," he said. "I know how she felt, but it was the easiest way to remove her comments from my discussions. Blame Facebook."

Moral: Never listen to your parents.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tales from the House of Glitch #2: The Arsonist


The Arsonist

Arnold knew who did it. It was one of those kids, the ones who hung out on the porch, like that one who kept lighting his lighter and putting it out, obviously a flame freak, like the one who started the fire in the dumpster, just for kicks, fire department and everything, they never caught the guy, but he knew who did it. It was one of those kids, the ones that hung out with Jamie, the guy in the attic, in the primo spot, the only room with a view, and he'd been there for years, always with the good bud, maybe even a dealer, which would make sense, that they all got high before setting the dumpster on fire. They musta thunk it was real funny, well hah hah, how do you like them apples? He knew Jamie would tell him who started the fire because it was his fault for getting them high before they must have set the dumpster on fire, even though Jamie was in Ballard when it happened and it was only when coming home on the 44 he saw the fire trucks and the cops. Jamie didn't know what happened and took no responsibility for what anyone else did upon leaving the House of Glitch, stoned or not, but Arnold didn't see it that way. It was one of his favorite dumpsters to dive, ground zero for one of Seattle's finest collectors of things other people threw away, and if that preoccupation occasionally warranted actually stepping into the container to retrieve something, so be it. The hapless pranksters just wanted to see flames but had instead angered Shiva, goddess of dumpsters, the holy land had been violated and the heathens must pay, and the only possible connection to anyone in his universe was those kids on the front porch who must have smoked a joint with Jamie.

And so he stormed off to give Jamie a piece of his mind. Jamie, meanwhile, didn't know what the fuck was happening with Arnold, whom he considered a benign sociopath who lived on another floor and needed to be spoken to softly. He didn't like Arnold's tone of voice and was particularly upset about being blamed for something he knew fuck all about. If one of the kids who actually set the fire hadn't come by to separate Arnold from Jamie, someone would have gotten punched, so it's a good thing he was there, though he actually didn't know either of them and was just there to see Angie, who also bore no responsibility for the torching of Arnold's shrine to Shiva.

Arnold never got revenge but Shiva gave Jamie a bad case of the crabs when he mistook her for a cheap hooker.

Moral: You never know when you're going to piss off one of the Gods so you may as well do whatever feels good.

Tales from the House of Glitch #1: The Ghost of Angie

The Ghost of Angie

Rodney loved Edna, his old girlfriend in Philly, loved her so much he knew he needed to do something special to keep him in her mind, after all, Seattle was a long way away, and Edna couldn't be certain if Rodney was really coming back, not knowing if she should save herself in any way whatsoever for his potential return. He was in Seattle for a gig lasting a month and found a boarding house much cheaper than a motel. The House of Glitch was just the right distance from the U where he dug the Chinese food.

He decided the something special for Edna should be postcards, incredible postcards, from all over town, historical sepias of the canal before the locks and magnificent full color sunsets of Mount Rainier with the grasshopper loading cranes in the Puget Sound behind the Bainbridge Island Ferry. But that wasn't enough. Using the most of his massive cartooning ability, he blocked out a story in perhaps twenty frames, where the first postcard would seem to have a mistake in it, a mistake that wouldn't make any sense until the arrival of the second postcard days later, something incredibly clever, reminding her what a treasure he was, a unique talent she would want forever in her life.

He finished the first five postcards, each more elaborate than the last, each one guaranteed to successively boggle her mind to the utmost, until the arrival of the next which would outdo them all. He put on the stamps and left the postcards on the kitchen table to run to his room, grab his backpack, turn out the lights, and lock the door. When he got back to the kitchen, the postcards were gone and Angie, one of the other residents in the House of Glitch, was frying an egg.

"Where are my postcards?" asked Rodney.

"I gave them to the postman," said Angie.

Rodney ran outside and tried to catch the postman but it was too late, he was already driving down the street.

The whole thing was ruined. The postcards would make absolutely no sense when they were received all at once. They had to be received one at a time and in the proper order. Now he wouldn't look like a genius to Edna. He'd look like an idiot.

Rodney came back into the kitchen. Angie was eating her eggs. "You don't have to thank me," she said. Rodney picked up the frying pan and beat her over the head with it several times.

Edna got the postcards and thought Rodney was a genius anyway. She wrote him back but he never got her postcards because he was in jail, where he remains to this day, for the murder of Angie who just thought she was doing him a favor, and whose ghostly presence haunts the House of Glitch to this day whenever someone makes breakfast.

MORAL: Never do anyone a favor.