Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cassavetes' Forgotten Masterpiece

Soon we'll all get to witness "Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland," featuring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. One cannot help but be reminded of one the world's greatest lost cinematic treasures, "John Cassavetes' Alice in Wonderland," starring Peter Falk as Humpty Dumpty, Ben Gazarra as the caterpillar, and Gina Rowlands as the Red Queen.

All that's left of this forgotten masterpiece are these three production stills...

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The Powers That Be: What do you want to let us make you president?
Obama: I'd like the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Powers That Be: Workable, but you've got to increase the forces in Afghanistan.
Obama: That doesn't make any sense.
The Powers That Be: Don't worry. You don't have to make the announcement till AFTER they announce you've won.
Obama: Cool.

Top 10 Christmas Movies I Want to See

Top 10 Christmas Movies I Want to See
by Michael Dare
10: It's a Horrible Life: Clarence the angel gets his wings after convincing George W. Bailey to kill himself by showing him how absolutely fantastic the world would have been had he never been born.
9: The Polar Espresso: Elves from around the world are kidnapped and forced to work at the first Starbucks at the North Pole.
8: How the Magnanimous Billionaire Gave Away Christmas: A mad billionaire hires minions to sneak into people's houses and replace the gifts around the tree with much better ones.
7: Homo Alone: I really don't want to see this. What was I thinking? You go see it.
6: Elf Realization: Che Elf rouses the toy workers to overthrow their hefty master. Siddhartha Elf finds enlightenment.
5: The Nightmare After Christmas: A swamped clerk at a Wal-Mart's return desk kidnaps shoppers and opens an underground slave department where illegal aliens can buy white people.
4: The Little Shop Around the Coroner: Law and Order meets CSI meets Bones meets Love, Actually, with a bit of Die Hard and Eyes Wide Shut thrown in.
3: Rudolph the Normal-Nosed Reindeer: There's nothing special about Rudolph so he never guides Santa's sleigh or ever really amounts to anything. Nobody writes a song about him and he dies in obscurity.
2: Disaster on 34th Street: Santa is hijacked by elf terrorists who crash his sleigh into Macy's which mysteriously comes crumbling down in what many claim must have been a controlled demolition. The US declares war on the North Pole and blows up a Starbucks. Gimbels has its biggest week ever.
and the number one Christmas movie I want to see...
1. The Most Improbable Story Ever Told: A virgin who appears on tortillas gives birth to a man who can walk on water. Starring Jesus Saves (pronounced Hey-soos Sah-vess.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Having hope gives me hope

At Hopenhagen there's a map of the world showing a quote from each of the 1,745,537 concerned citizens who have signed a petition begging the United Nations Climate Change Conference to come to their senses, and a good petition it is, well worth signing. The form shows a blank space before the words "gives me hope," hoping people will create phrases like "beauty gives me hope" or "Viagra gives me hope" but the vast majority of submissions don't quite get the concept, creating things like "Let's gather together in peace gives me hope" and "what countries will get submerged gives me hope."
Come to sign the global warming petition. Stay to make fun of others.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Free Monty Python album you've never heard

What a pleasure it is to listen to a Monty Python album where you don't already have everything memorized. "Memory Training" is right up there with "Word Association Football," and the dialogue between Mrs. Particle and Mrs. Velocity is just as good as the one between Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion. This never has been, and possibly never will be, officially released, so it's time to look on the pirate side of life and download a bootleg. It's only available in BitTorrent. Download this torrent.

Despite the title, this 1981 album was never actually released to the public for a fast buck. Andre Jacquemin, who put together much of the Pythons' album work, cobbled this album together from material which had been recorded for other albums (mostly the Contractual Obligation Album) but not used. It was given by Michael Palin to the band Motorhead as a gift, and has found its way, unofficially, into the hands of fans, but has never been sold in stores.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Denizen of the Darknet reviews 2012

Denizen of the Darknet Reviews 2012
by Michael Dare
I've never snuck into a movie theater showing a big new blockbuster with the intension of surreptitiously making a copy of it with my digital camera and offering it immediately for free to everyone on the internet, but I HAVE snuck into a movie theater showing a big new blockbuster and thought to myself "I must make it my mission in life to prevent other people from having to go through the same hideous experience I was just subjected to." Giving it away for free might be one way to do it.
I'd like to point out that one nanosecond after the first public showing of 2012, there were several versions available in BitTorrent.
And I'd like to point out that more than a month after its release, there still isn't a copy of A Serious Man, the Coen Brother's new film, available in BitTorrent. (At least so far as I know. It could be available on some limited stream the public doesn't have access to.)
And I'd like to make a big deal over those two facts, which I believe turn the release of BitTorrent versions of movies into an actual political statement and not just the work of "pirates" out to make a buck. (How can it be piracy if no one makes a penny? Sounds like a Robin Hood metaphor might be more apt.)
I put it to you that the reason A Serious Man hasn't been ripped off is because the intelligent minds behind BitTorrent actually respect the Coen Brothers and so it hasn't even occurred to them to rip them off. They would never, ever, pass around a shoddy copy of a Coen Brothers movie. They would only wait for the official DVD release so they can point with pride to their vastly superior Blue-Ray rip where you can see every wisp of smoke in the distance. The visuals are everything, man. You want to pay attention, to stop whatever it is you're doing and actually WATCH a Coen Brothers movie, and if you're giving it all your focus, you don't want to hear audience noises and see people getting up to go the bathroom from a copy shot in a multiplex that doesn't include the end credits because that's when the lights go up and the ushers appear.
I put it to you that 2012 was available immediately because nobody in the the vastly intelligent world of BitTorrent gives a good flying fuck about Roland Emmerich and the Hollywood money stream he represents. They show their contempt by saving you money which you can now spend on something else. There's no sense in feeling guilty because you were prevented from wasting your money. You'll just waste it on something else. No matter what, Hollywood gets your money.
Despite the fact that hell has called and wants my eyes back, I am grateful to the knowledgeable and generous denizens of the Darknet for saving me the bother of dragging my bones to a movie theater.
Here's a nice game to play. Exactly how much random money would you have to have lying around before you were willing to fork over fifteen bucks to see 2012? For me, it's about a hundred. Yeah, that's right. You'd have to pay me a hundred smackeroos before I'd go see 2012 in a movie theater. Before that point, I've got something better to do with that money. I could have a bong hit and imagine my own end of the world, where everyone is nice to each other and it drives them crazy, with hot fudge lava from the Electric Brownie Mountains flowing free into the churning Sea of Cold Stoned Creamery French Vanilla with a Jerry on top, Colonna, not Lewis, and everything is free, including food, from Foodster, the BitTorrent program that replicates food, and Drugster, the BitTorrent program that replicates drugs. Don't get me started about Sexster. No character needs an arc and no species needs an ark because there's nothing to escape from but their own lunacy and the unlimited barrels of pure pleasure available for free. The world falls apart because people stop believing in fairies. Nothing makes any sense. Ducks bark, dogs quack, and everyone wears hemp underwear. They got it wrong. It's just a bunch of random things happening. Entropy. That's how the world ends.
"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality."
- Pablo Picasso -

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Debates with Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is having a contest where he invites you to download a bunch of clips of him and to cut yourself into the footage. The winner gets to actually appear on the Colbert Report. I submitted four videos and miraculously, three of them are currently being featured on the front page of the contest. Don't know how long they'll last. Please go to the link below and give me a thumbs up. You want me to be on the Colbert Report, don't you?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Funny, I thought it would have been Prison Break

According to an officer in David Miller's documentary "In Guantanamo," the favorite TV show of all the prisoners is the Discovery Channel's "World's Deadliest Catch."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hilarious bit from "Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show"

I nominate the Cowardly Lion auditioning for United 93 as the funniest comedy bit of all time.

Job opportunity of the week

Grateful Dead Archivist

Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
  • Admin - Libraries
Posted: 11/06/2009
Application Due: Open Until Filled
Type: Full Time
Salary: $52,860 to $68,892 USD Per Year

Grateful Dead Archivist

The University Library of the University of California, Santa Cruz, seeks an enterprising, creative, and service-oriented archivist to join the staff of Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) as Archivist for the Grateful Dead Archive. This is a potential career status position. The Archivist will be part of a dynamic, collegial, and highly motivated department dedicated to building, preserving, promoting, and providing maximum access both physically and virtually to one of the Library's most exciting and unique collections, The Grateful Dead Archive (GDA). The UCSC University Library utilizes innovative approaches to allow the discovery, use, management, and sharing of information in support of research, teaching, and learning.

Under the general direction of the Head of Special Collections and Archives, the GDA Archivist will provide managerial and curatorial oversight of the Grateful Dead Archive, plan for and oversee the physical and digital processing of Archives related material, and promote the GDA to the public and facilitate its use by scholars, fans, and students.

MINIMUM Qualifications:
* Master's degree from an ALA-accredited program or equivalent accredited graduate archives management program.
* Significant, demonstrated experience working with books, manuscripts, photographs, recordings, or other material in a special collections & archives environment.
* Knowledge of the access tools for special collections and archival material and the standards and procedures for their preservation and conservation.
* Demonstrated experience developing processing plans and creating finding aids in accordance with national standards.
* Knowledge of and ability to maintain awareness of developments in archival processing, digital information technologies, and their uses in special collections and archives.
* Expert knowledge in the history and scholarship of contemporary popular music, or American vernacular culture, preferably the history and influence of the Grateful Dead.
* Excellent analytical, organizational, and time management skills.
* Demonstrated oral, written and interpersonal communication skills sufficient to promote and present the archive to multiple audiences.
* Prior experience directing the work of others.

Strongly Preferred Qualifications:
* Demonstrated experience working in public services in an academic environment.
* Demonstrated experience working on outreach and other donor related activities.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Be a New Yorker cartoonist

The New Yorker's having a great online contest where they supply you with all the elements you need to create a cartoon that takes place on a talk show. First prize is a trip to NY. Below, one of my sick loser entries...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Worst. Album. Ever. or not you like Bob Dylan could very much depend upon whether you've heard Blood on the Tracks, which is a masterpiece by absolutely any standard. On the other hand, if his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart, is the only Bob Dylan album you've ever heard, you would have every right to rank him somewhere between Mrs. Miller and Tiny Tim in the pantheon of singing oddities. Here Comes Santa Claus, Winter Wonderland, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, there will never, ever, be worse versions of these songs. Impossible. Christmas in the Heart bubbled up from some insane reverse Bizarro world American Idol where only those with the most disagreeable vocal cords are free to embarrass themselves.

There's no blood on these tracks, just phlegm, buckets of phlegm, tangled up in sputum, you need shelter from the expectorant, Heimlich me in the morning, the idiot cough, if you see him, say gesundheit, he's gonna make me grateful when he goes. The songs aren't uplifting, imbued with subtle texture, but Leonard Cohen times Tom Waits divided by Josh Groban. Dylan finally proves to the world that he can sing worse than ANYBODY, just try to sing worse than this, I dare you.

And all those people who think they can do a Dylan impersonation? Like Elvis impersonators, they've now got to decide between the early Dylan who couldn't sing or the older, degraded Dylan who REALLY can't sing. Good luck with it and don't hurt yourself.

Most importantly, this album is going to have a profound effect upon the war on terror. If al Qaeda wants statements from American soldiers they've captured in Afghanistan, all they have to do is play Dylan's Christmas album over and over and the troops will be begging to confess to the fact Dick Cheney was behind 9/11.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Terry Jones tells a great story about Douglas Adams

I remember him telling me once of something that, he said, had just happened to him at the railway station. He was early for a train, so he bought The Guardian, a cup of coffee and a packet of biscuits, and sat down at a table, putting the folded newspaper down so he could do the crossword. The packet of biscuits was in the middle of the table.

There was another man already sitting at the table and this man now leant calmly across, tore open the packet of biscuits and ate one. Douglas said he went into a sort of state of shock, but — determined not to show any reaction — he equally calmly leant forward and took the second biscuit. A few minutes later, the man took the third and ate it. Douglas then took the fourth and tried his best not to glare at the man.

The man then stood up and wandered off as if nothing had happened, at which point Douglas's train was announced. So he hurriedly finished his coffee and picked up his belongings, only to find his packet of biscuits under the newspaper.

It's actually a profoundly philosophical story. With one slight adjustment of the furniture, the victim becomes the aggressor and the aggressor the victim, and one is left with the untold story of the true victim hanging in the air. It's exactly the sort of shift in perspective that fascinated Douglas — as a way of not just telling stories but also of looking at ideas.

He told me the same story many times, and it eventually ended up, much embellished, in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Jack Herer Initiative

by J. Craig Canada

I don't want to f___ing give the United States govern-
ment one f___ing dollar of taxes. I think that they should
go to f___ing jail for getting you and me and 20 million
people getting arrested for pot. It is the safest thing you
can do in the universe. And that is what we are going to
do in California. Okay? Come over to my booth,
over there, and I will see you next time.

The Emperor of Hemp: The Jack Herer Story  - Hulu

Jack Herer, also known as The Emperor of Hemp, suffered a stroke shortly after speaking at Hempstalk in Portland, Oregon on 12 Sep 09. 

Paul Stanford wrote on Facebook that he collapsed of a heart attack three minutes after giving the speech in the video on the right.  Mr. Herer previously suffered a heart attack in 2000, also in Oregon, which left him partially paralyzed and from which he had continued to recover.

Various sources report it took twenty to twenty-five minutes for an ambulance to arrive and that he was without oxygen for that period of time.

There were at least three reports that Mr. Herer died 18 Sep 09, but these have been found to be false.  The reports were issued by CelebStoner, The Drug Policy Alliance (, and (John English, Michael Stone).  These articles have now disappeared from the internet.

On 20 Sep 09 it was reported Jack began coming out of the coma the previous day and that his eyes had momentarily opened several times and he was incessantly yawning.  Hopefully, he will be able to tell us himself that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.

Mr. Herer ended his speech at Hempstalk with a passionate denunciation of taxing marijuana.  It seems obvious this was in response to the filing of initiatives to tax marijuana in California and Oregon, and the attendant media frenzy over the past couple of months.

Three initiatives have been filed with the Attorney General and a bill is in the legislature that would tax and regulate marijuana in California.  Additionally, there is a move in Oregon to equate marijuana with alcohol and tax it accordingly.

Mr. Herer is not alone in his opposition to the taxation of medical marijuana.  Dennis Peron and Ed Rosenthal have publicly expressed similar sentiments.  Just last week Dennis Peron announced on Facebook he had been fired by Oaksterdamn U for giving a talk in which he stated his opposition to their initiative proposing to tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana without limitation.

It is curious to note that in the major media blizzard extolling the financial prospects of marijuana, no one has bothered to ask these pioneers and founders of the movement what they think.  Certainly, none have quoted them.  All have been completely ignored.  As of this writing, a Google search of the news for the past month on - "Jack Herer" tax - returns one hit, which appears to be in Moroccan.  The word "tax" appears in the phrase "the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937".

In other words, so far no one seems to think what may have been Jack Herer's last words is important.

Mr. Herer attempted to get his own marijuana legalization initiative on the California ballot in 2008.  Evidently, he was not able to get the signatures to qualify the measure.  This, most likely, was because only volunteers were used to gather signatures.

Oakland has four dispensaries that each pay $30,000 per year to be licensed by the city to dispense medical marijuana.  These dispensaries are the proponents of The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis 2010 Act (ROT 2010).  The argument can be made that these four dispensaries, which together grossed $18 million in 2007 and $21 million in 2008, are paying $120,000 per year to protect their monopoly on the distribution of medical marijuana in the City of Oakland.

Measure F, sponsored by The Oakland Gang of Four, raised the tax the sick and dying pay for medicine from $1.20 per $1,000 (0.12%) to $18.00 per $1,000 (1.80%).  This is equal to the tax on alcohol and will raise the amount of tax the sick and dying pay for medicine in Oakland well over a quarter of a million dollars, from about $25,000 to about $378,000.  To many, this appears to be a sell-out of the medical marijuana movement. 

Additionally, they intend to spend a million dollars on a signature drive to get their tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana "without limitation" initiative on the ballot in 2010.  In other words, The Oakland Gang of Four intends to spend well over $1,500,000 of the money patients paid for medicine to protect their monopoly in Oakland, to prohibit commercial licensing in jurisdictions that do not tax, and to exhort the cities, counties, and state to tax, regulate, license, administer, and police marijuana "without limitation".

Jack Herer's initiative, titled The California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative, appears to be far superior to any of the measures purporting to legalize marijuana likely to come before the people of California.

It begins not with a long-winded and superfluous list of whereases, intents, and purposes, but with the actual legal language of §11362.6 to be added to the Health & Safety Code.

Subsection 1 of the proposed §11362.6 states:

No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana

Subsection 2 of the proposed §11362.6 consists of definitions.  These contain language specifically legalizing industrial hemp, recreational marijuana, and medical marijuana (or cannabis).  It is to be noted that the definition of "cannabis hemp medical preparations" specifies "mental conditions".

"Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use."

Subsection 3 of the proposed §11362.6 prohibits "any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, or tax that is excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive."

Subsection 4 of the proposed §11362.6 restores "cannabis hemp medicinal preparations" to "the list of available medicines in California" and specifically exempts "prescribed cannabis hemp medical preparations" from any tax.  It also prohibits any professional hearing or licensing review of physicians for "recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana".

Subsection 5 of the proposed §11362.6 prohibits the requirement of any "permit, license, or tax" for the "non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp."  It also prohibits testing for "inactive and/or inert cannabis metabolites" for employment or insurance or "intoxication".  In other words, not only does it define cannabis as an "euphoric" as opposed to an "intoxicant", but it specifies that evidence of cannabis use may not be used to establish charges of "intoxication" but instead such charges must be based on evidence of impairment. 

Compare this to Oregon's Cannabis Tax Act, which defines cannabis as an "intoxicant" and therefore equates it to alcohol.  A search of the Oregon Revised Statutes shows 2 hits for "intoxicant" and 26 for "intoxicated".

Subsection 6 of the proposed §11362.6 declares the use of cannabis hemp for religious purposes an inalienable right protected by the state and federal constitutions.

Section II of The Jack Herer Initiative would "repeal, delete, and expunge any and all provisions that conflict with the provisions of this initiative."

Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

Section III of The Jack Herer Initiative authorizes the legislature to enact measures to regulate commercial marijuana.  It sets a limit of $1,000 on any "license or permit fee required by the state" for "commercial production, distribution, or use" and requires sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age.  Compare this to Oaksterdamn U's proposal, which stipulates cities and counties must tax marijuana in order to license "concessionary establishments", and prohibits commercial sales and distribution in cities and counties that do not pass such a tax.

This section also authorizes taxing "commercial" sales, so long as "no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce."

The only flaw found in the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative is the title.

It should be called The Jack Herer Initiative.

The suggested deadline to file an initiative with the California Attorney General is this Friday, September 25, 2009.  Filing an initiative requires a $200 application fee.  Then the Attorney General has about 30 days to prepare an official summary.  Once the official summary is filed the proponents have 150 days to gather the signatures to qualify for the ballot.

I can think of no more fitting legacy for the Emperor of Hemp than to get The Jack Herer Initiative And Act on the California ballot in 2010, and to pass it.

On 19 Sep 09 The Salem-News reported that to help with financial expenses, donations are accepted at all US Bank branches, make your deposit to: JACK HERER DONATION FUND. For more information, email

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two girls, one idiot

Okay, I'm chiming in on this Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Kanye West controversy at the VMA Awards, which just got me to Google and watch the two videos, one of which won BEST VIDEO and the other of which won BEST FEMALE VIDEO, which caused Kanye to blow his cool and grab the mike away from Taylor Swift to say Beyonce had been robbed.

Kanye West reminds the world he's a fucktard

Someone's got to say it so it might as well be me. This is a fight over two videos that are BOTH total crap. In one, three dames in leotards do a dance that's missing three poles while singing "if you want it, you better put a ring on it," delivering the astonishing message that Beyonce won't fuck me unless I ask her to marry me, and in the other, a hot teenage girl is in love with her hot teenage neighbor who's only interested in another hot teenager till the night of the prom when he finally realizes he was in love with her the whole time, which we find out when they both mysteriously pull out pieces of paper that say "I love you." Subtle.

Though they're both well shot, neither of these videos have an original frame.

Taylor Swift tries to get you to feel sorry for her because boys don't notice her

Beyonce reminds you that she's really hot but won't
fuck you unless you get down on your knees

Since people obviously judge songs minus the videos, it's fair game to judge these videos minus the songs. Turning down the sound, the Beyonce vid is just soft-core porn that would work with absolutely any song ever written, Elton John, I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself, just to pick one ironic gay icon that would give it an interesting spin. The Taylor Swift video at least has a story line and works as a competent silent movie, with a predictable beginning, predictable middle, and predictable end. It would work just as well, if not better, with something simple minded like early Beatles, Please Please Me or She Loves You, though Mad World from Donnie Darko would be just peachy.

Even the happy ending is a weird combination of fake emotion, where Beyonce does the right thing by letting Taylor Swift give a standard crappy acceptance speech

I'd like to thank the VMA and everyone else on earth for
giving me the opportunity to drive Kanye West crazy

Now that he's offended everyone on earth, I'm worried that Kanye West will never get laid again. Time to start a cause on Facebook. Won't you please buy a prostitute for Kanye West? Or a noose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heartburn commercial in South Africa

Someone in South Africa had this Gaviscon ad captioned by a person whose English is suspect. The result is hilarious.  

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sour Grapes #2

Meanwhile, Scott Bakula, who played me in a CBS MOW, is starring in Guys and Dolls at the Hollywood Bowl. If I were starring in Guys and Dolls at the Hollywood Bowl, I would have invited HIM.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Careers to Pursue When Yours Disappear

by Michael Dare
Some people lose their jobs because they always show up late and leave early. Some people lose their jobs because they called their boss an asshole. But there's a special category of people who lost their jobs because the job itself doesn't really exist any more. It just disappears, like those buggy whip manufacturers at the advent of the Model T, they produce a product that's no longer needed by any but the loyal few. They still sell buggy whips, just not as many. The masses have moved elsewhere. Here's a guide to other careers to pursue if you lost your job in such a manner.
Considering how much free porn there is on the net, it's surprising the professional porn industry survives at all. If you're a porn star laid off because Harry Putz and the Prisoner of Asskaban laid an egg, there are surely a plethora of other ways to put your talent to use. You could virtually blow everyone on my Facebook FRIEND list, but that would only get you further friends, not further income. You might think about downsizing to a smaller audience and doing private porn films for a select clientele. Put the following ad in CraigsList: "Star in your own porn film. Select from our luscious collection of actors. We will come to your house and film you fucking them."
Considering how much free music there is on the net, it's surprising there's a single musician making a living. If you had a hit in the 90s, way back when people actually played CDs, you might have noticed you're not getting any royalties from the constant stream of downloads - at Limewire, Frostwire, and Pirate Bay - of your one-hit-wonder. You could follow the RIAA's example and sue your own fans, but I suggest the opposite. Make a YouTube video offering a buck to everyone who can prove they downloaded your song for free. Since that's virtually impossible, you won't have to actually pay anyone anything, and the resulting free publicity might get you a shot at being the opening act on a Vanilla Ice reunion tour.
The manufacturers of pay phones didn't sue the manufacturers of cell phones for putting them out of business because the manufacturers of pay phones WERE the manufacturers of cell phones. Let this be a role model for everyone put out of business by some new technology. Don't fight it. In the future, you'll just look like a jerk, and you don't look so hot now.
We don't need you any more. We can make copies ourselves, thank you, no need to pay someone else to do it. Man, if you make money making copies of ANYTHING, toodle-ooh, the Free Barrier has been broken and those sonic booms you hear are your industry going bye-bye. Once I can receive MP3s and AVIs of music and movies directly from their creators, downloaded in minutes, what the hell do I need Netflix for? Waste of time and energy. I could be doing jumping jacks instead of running to the mailbox. But that's just home distribution, which once didn't exist, then became 50% of profits, and now is going to barely exist again. The future really is those big opening weekends, sitting in a crowd at a mammoth screen, where simple images take your breath away and you enjoy yourself whether you liked it or not. In order to make money, film and music have got to get you off your butt and away from the computer to an actual theatrical experience where you pay to get in. Everything else is public domain.
You used to crank it out for a paycheck. Now you just crank it out. No more editors telling you what to do, only readers and other writers, who are notoriously cranky too. Logic tells us if you want to support a writer, buy a physical copy of his book or magazine or newspaper or leaflet, stopping right short of Blog Post, where money never changes hands. Whenever you accept a compliment, accept the fact that compliments are pay, and thank you for reading this. If you pass it on, I get 10%.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sour Grapes Obituary: How Karl Malden ruined my life

It's completely personal. Between me and him. Karl Malden fucked up my life, he really did. No matter how much I dig his talent - and I certainly do, he's a Strasberg acting God, and I studied with Strasberg in New York in 1970 where he was treated as such, so I know - Malden is still the premiere putz in my professional life. Or was. He's dead now. Great. Now I get to be pissed off at a dead man.

I know you're sick of celebrity obituaries in this horrible week of death and chaos, but this one's different. At this point I've got to pin you to the wall like a drunk in a Hollywood bar, slurring my speech, hot breath in your face, "You don't understand, no matter how good he was in Baby Doll, I'm glad he's dead, that bastard..."

Luckily, I'm not that drunk. Here's what happened more than 20 years ago.

The 80s was my decade as film critic for the L.A. Weekly. While trashing their films in print, I met most of Hollywood, and I considered it my duty to photograph and distort it all. I've got thousands of ridiculous SX-70 Polaroid portraits of the famous, the insane, and the dead. They've never been published and rarely been seen by anyone except the subjects themselves - who usually expressed either glee or abject horror. Due to copyright law, or maybe just good old fashioned good taste, I've had an incredibly hard time getting my work shown in public.

In 1989 a horrible mistake was made and I was voted in as a member of the Los Angeles Film Critic's Association. Meetings in the incredible homes of other film critics was truly inspiring. I was in a profession that could lead to the good life. One day, just for fun, I brought a book of my Polaroids to a meeting where it was eventually passed to Doug Edwards, who turned out to be not just a film critic but the curator of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ones who give the Oscars. I had no idea. He asked me if I'd like to have a show in their lobby. Holy shit. The Academy lobby leads to the Samuel Goldwyn Screening room, which is used almost every night for preview screenings and premieres of major films. It's a perfect location to be seen by all of Hollywood. Total legitimacy at last. You bet I said yes.

We picked 250 images for a mammoth show. Fifty would be blown up to poster size, the rest displayed in eight groupings of 25 original Polaroids. My opening date was Sept. 18, 1989. I met with their PR firm and they drew up a press release.



The Polaroid Corporation agreed to sponsor the opening night party, and we expected the press to show up to photograph celebrities standing in front of their portraits. Entertainment Tonight, here I come. My career was made. The anti-Annie Liebowitz.

Then the Academy voted in a new president, Karl Malden, who took one look at my pictures, cancelled the press release, and said "Wait a minute. Do we have releases from all of these people?"

Of course I didn't. I was a film critic for a local paper. The subjects of the show were public figures whose pictures I was literally invited to take at press conferences. I've been assured by the constitution of the United States that nobody needs permission to display a public figure's image on their wall. Nevertheless, Malden decided that my pictures were weird and that some people might not like them. He declared that no pictures would be shown without signed releases from the subjects.

Okee doke. No problem. That week, the Academy sent out black-and-white Xerox copies of my pictures to all of the subjects themselves, along with a letter asking for permission to display the picture in their lobby. The Xeroxes were pretty awful so I knew this was a bad idea, but I had no choice.

Some of my subjects know my work. I was sure that Emilio Estevez would say yes because one of my photos was on his refrigerator. But I was concerned about people like Ted Turner or Hugh Hefner or Menachem Golan. To them, I would have been just another schmuck paparazzi who took their picture one day and disappeared into the crowd. What would they think when they opened their mail to find ugly Xeroxes of their faces distorted into hideous mutants, along with a letter asking permission for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make an enormous blow-up of the monstrosity to display in a popular public place where all their friends went?

66 people said yes, 22 said no, and 72 didn't respond. A lot of the answers surprised me. Hefner said yes! Golan & Turner both said no. Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges and Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte and Vincent Price and Martin Fucking Scorsese said yes!

Robin Williams said no, even though he's handsome and not distorted at all in the picture.

Don Siegel said yes, Clint Eastwood said no, and they were both in the same shot!

But what did it matter who said no. My reaction was "Great, let's go. 66 pictures is plenty for a show, especially with so many incredible people saying yes." When's the last time you saw a gallery show with 66 goddam photographs. More than enough. Doug Edwards agreed and the blowups were actually ordered, but then the word came down from Malden. The whole thing was cancelled. 66 yeses somehow confirmed in his mind that the show must not go on. It was a question of whether the glass was half empty or half full, though 22 noes is only a third of the yeses. He was worried about the people who didn't respond. (Huh? Maybe they wouldn't like the ugly pictures of other people who gave their permission?) Also, some of the negatives were big negatives. Harry Dean Stanton not only said no, he threatened to sue the Academy if they displayed my picture of him. (On what possible grounds? Malicious surreal facial reconstruction of a celebrity in an artwork?) Here's the shot.

Come and get me, Harry!

In any case, Doug and I got the runaround. The Academy was enthusiastic about the show, they looked forward to doing it, some time, maybe the next spring, unless they got that new air conditioning system, which would mean the lobby might be torn up, so they might do the show in another location, or possibly later in the year.

Doug had a suggestion. "Let's just wait for the Academy to vote in a new president," he said.

Two years later, it happened, Malden was out on his ass, and Doug re-submitted the show to the new president, Robert Rehme, and he assured me it was a shoe-in, asking me to call the following week.

The very next Monday, I opened the Los Angeles Times and was stunned to read Doug Edward's obituary. He had died of AIDS. I didn't even know he was sick.

The Academy was in turmoil. Nobody knew who would replace him or where my portfolio was, and so I waited. On March 10, 1993, four years after the whole process got started, I got my portfolio back from the Academy along with the following letter.

I could blame Bruce Davis or Bob Rehme or the Los Angeles Times for delivering the bad news. Harry Dean Stanton, you got some splaining to do. Hell, I could even blame AIDS. Stupid fucking disease that ruined my career. But I tend to blame Karl Malden because everything was fine till HE butted in his potato proboscis. Even though Harry Dean Stanton's reply proved he was right in starting the vetting process, that's no excuse for cancelling the whole show. You just drop the offending photo.

At this very moment, somewhere in the Academy archives there are 66 signed releases from major celebrities giving the Academy, and ONLY the Academy, permission to display my pictures in public. Yeah, that's right. I can't even use them to get a publishing deal. Nobody else will ever be able to compile such a list. You got Baryshnikov's address?

It's not often you can point your finger at an individual who deliberately called your career as a celebrity dickwad to a grinding halt. Maybe that's a stupid thing to aspire to, but I can't help imagining the photos I'd be cranking out now if things had gone another way. Maybe I wouldn't have gained all this weight. It's Karl Malden's fault!

Sorry Karl. Yeah, you were in On the Waterfront, and you and your method pals got me to New York for a whole series of adventures, but now when Marlon Brando says "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am," it's got a whole other meaning. It's me talking to you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Second-hand smoke is good for you

When you drink tequila at a bar, you don't get those around you drunk, but when you smoke pot indoors you DO get those around you high with second-hand smoke. The argument against smoking cigarettes in public is that you're spreading cancer. Inarguably bad for you. Having woken up stoned out of my mind simply because someone smoked pot in my bedroom while I was asleep, I'd argue that getting someone high when they don't want to be, like spiking the punch with LSD, is a rude and potentially dangerous thing to do. However, now that we know marijuana smoke not only doesn't cause cancer but may actually prevent and cure it, the argument could also be made that public tobacco smoking must be accompanied by equal amounts of pot smoking - just to counter the cancer effect.
To understand the insane disconnect between science and policy concerning marijuana, just check out these two articles. See if you can figure out which one contains actual science (hint, it's boring).

Marijuana Smoking Does Not Cause Lung Cancer, UCLA Expert Dr. Tashkin Concludes Protective Effect "Not Unreasonable"

Marijuana smoking -"even heavy long-term use"- does not cause cancer of the lung, upper airways, or esophagus, Dr. Donald Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society...

Stephen Sidney examined the files of 64,000 Kaiser patients and found that marijuana users didn't develop lung cancer at a higher rate or die earlier than non-users. Of five smaller studies on the question, only two -involving a total of about 300 patients- concluded that marijuana smoking causes lung cancer. Tashkin decided to settle the question by conducting a large, population-based, case-controlled study."Our major hypothesis," he told the ICRS, "was that heavy, long-term use of marijuana will increase the risk of lung and upper-airways cancers."

The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance program provided Tashkin's team with the names of 1,209 L.A. residents aged 59 or younger with cancer (611 lung, 403 oral/pharyngeal, 90 laryngeal, 108 esophageal). Interviewers collected extensive lifetime histories of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, and data on diet, occupational exposures, family history of cancer, and various "socio-demographic factors." Exposure to marijuana was measured in joint years (joints per day x years that number smoked)...

There was time for only one question, said the moderator, and San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D., was already at the microphone: "You don't see any positive correlation, but in at least one category, it almost looked like there was a negative correlation, i.e., a protective effect. Could you comment on that?" [Abrams was referring to Tashkin's lung-cancer-only data for marijuana-only smokers in 1-10 j-yrs category.] "Yes," said Tashkin. "The odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant, but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. But that is not an unreasonable hypothesis."

And this one...

State rules marijuana smoke is a carcinogen, may require dispensaries to post warnings

Joints and baggies sold at California's medical marijuana dispensaries will soon carry a new warning label. Next to tags like "Purple Haze" and "White Widow" will be the advisory: Contents may cause cancer when smoked.

On Friday, California added marijuana smoke to its official list of known carcinogens, joining the ranks of arsenic, asbestos and DDT. Pot brownies, lollipops and other non-inhalables are not affected by the new ruling.

Scientists found the pungent smoke shares many of the same harmful properties as tobacco smoke, warranting its inclusion on the Proposition 65 warning list. The law requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and businesses and government agencies must post warnings when they use such chemicals or sell products containing them.

"Marijuana smoke is a mixture of different chemicals, and a number of those were already on the Prop. 65 list," said Allan Hirsch, chief deputy director of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which made the designation.

Okay, that last one was boring too, but it was also absolutely insane. Ignoring the science showing pot may prevent cancer, they declare it a carcinogen because it "shares many of the same harmful properties as tobacco smoke." That doesn't prove anything. Here's how their logic works. You can make orange juice from oranges. Oranges are a fruit. Apples are also a fruit, therefore you can make orange juice out of apples.

Just because two things share properties doesn't make them equal, otherwise Battlefield Earth and Pulp Fiction would be equally bad for you just because John Travolta's in both of them.
It can be hard to grasp things that are counterintuitive, the earth going around the sun despite the intuitive fact that the sun obviously goes around the earth. It's got to be explained in a rational manner before anyone will abandon their instincts.
It's just common sense that smoke isn't good for your lungs. People die of smoke inhalation all the time. When people die in fires, it's often the smoke that kills them, so it's perfectly rational to presume that the smoke of anything, whether trees or leaves or an occasional book, won't be doing your lungs any good. Smoke anything rolled in paper and you're smoking a bleached and pulverized tree with the tobacco or pot. Throw a book burning and you'll rapidly discover that the smoke you create from Shakespeare is just as toxic as the smoke from Hitler, at least as far as your lungs are concerned.
It's perfectly rational to presume if the smoke of one plant causes cancer, the smoke of all plants causes cancer. It's just not logical. There's a perfect kind of smoke that's actually good for you. That's counterintuitive. It's also true.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Does Obama read Michael Dare on

What Michael Dare said yesterday:

The military budget doesn't need to be cut, it just needs to be spend differently.
For the cost of let's say one aircraft carrier, we could have a massive airdrop, not of bombs, but of free iPhones and mini laptops and wifi for every citizen of Iran, and what the hell, North Korea.

Invite them to experience the freedom of the internet. Win their souls and minds. Make the foreign governments look pretty bad when they complain about a massive giveaway that every citizen will applaud.
Michael Dare

the next day at

One reporter asked if the White House was considering beaming broadband capability into Iran via satellite so the opposition forces would be able to communicate with themselves and the outside world. Gibbs said he didn't know such a thing was possible. (Is it?) But he said he would check on the technological feasibility and get back with an answer.

That caused some head-scratching in the press room. If the United States could do that and was planning on doing so, wouldn't this be one of those intelligence matters that Gibbs won't discuss? But maybe some telecom entrepreneur or Silicon Valley whiz-kids can make this happen. The Google guys? The Twitter people? XM Radio? This is the sort of covert action that could be worth outsourcing—with the project manager taking full credit. Think of the endorsement possibilities: the Iranian Revolution...Brought to You by DIRECTV.

Michael Jackson's Lament redux


Michael Jackson's Lament

They can play in his park unafraid
Michael is not trying to get laid
And if they should chance to spend the night
He'll respect their innocent delight

He can write a tune that's nice and lilty
You can never prove that he is guilty
He can make a plausible rebuttal
All he ever wants to do is cuddle

He has made a promise you can trust
The jury gave a verdict that was just
He will have to wait till they are men
He won't sleep with little boys again

Michael swoons
with a bunch of hairy ass baboons
Michael shouts
Underneath his worries and his doubts
Michael laughs
with an ocelot and two giraffes
Michael hurls
at the thought of touching little girls

When he goes to court he always wins
He won't go to jail for his sins
In his brain there is a major glitch
He won't be another convict's bitch

When it comes to ten o'clock or more
Michael's gonna moon walk out the door
One hand clapping will be Michael's Zen
He won't sleep with little boys again


Monday, June 22, 2009

What I did this past weekend

I marched in Seattle's Fremont Solstice Parade with the Hempfest dragon.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
That's the Super Sonic Soul Pimps on the float.
That's me in the back.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Astonishing Must See Video: Civilization

Civilization by Marco Brambilla from CRUSH on Vimeo.

Above: "Civilization," a video installation by artist/director Marco Brambilla for the elevators in the Standard Hotel in NYC.
It's comprised of over 400 video clips and it takes elevator passengers on a trip from hell to heaven as they go up or from heaven to hell as they go down. Pictures of the installation and Q&A with Brambilla and Crush are posted here.
(Thanks, Richard Metzger!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My contributions to Open Government Dialogue

Michael Dare

Michael Dare
Member since : May-30-2009 (Verified)
10 Ideas, 10 Comments, 27 Votes

Ideas Posted

Michael Dare 2 days ago
We, the public, wish to extend our Domain, called the Public Domain. Every extension of copyright is at the expense of the Public Domain. Corporations will extend copyright forever if we, the Public, let them trample on our Domain.

When "Happy Birthday" is sung in a film, should Mildred and Patty Hill get credit? Absolutely, they wrote it in 1893. Should AOL Time Warner reel in $2 million a year licensing the song more than a century after it was written? ( I don't think so. Let people post birthday parties to YouTube without the threat of a lawsuit from a mighty media corporation.

AOL Time Warner, as a public service, we ask you to voluntarily release the song "Happy Birthday" into the Public Domain.
Michael Dare 8 days ago
Nobody has ever seen it so he wasn't really president, the south has retroactively won the Civil War and Barack Obama is rightly a slave who should be working in a cotton farm in Virginia.
Michael Dare 8 days ago
Change the law so that there is no birth certificate requirement for public office. We live in a global community and the requirement is archaic and useless. Let Obama be president wherever he was born.
Michael Dare 8 days ago
Please stop posting "new" ideas concerning Obama's birth certificate. The idea has already been posted. Once is enough for such a trivial matter. Please stop wasting everybody's time with your partisan lunacy.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
Let the Palestinians make a deal with the Mafia to build casinos in the Gaza Strip. Make it like Atlantic City. Generate income. Let the world see a few millionaire Palestinians. Give them hope, not to mention free booze and prostitutes.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
Leave the Senate the way it is, but make the House of Representatives truly representative by getting rid of democracy in elections. We're not really a democracy anyway, remember? "I pledge allegiance to the REPUBLIC of the United States of America." I assume you know the difference, right? Allow me to quote...

"Suppose the majority wants to take away your home, business, or your children. Obviously, there's a problem! The flaw in democracy is that if you allow majority rule, then everybody's rights are up-for-grabs. All you have to do is get more than 1/2 of the people to want something, on any given day, and you no longer have any rights. It's sometimes called 'the tyranny of a majority.'

"The fundamental difference between a democracy and a republic is that if someone or a group of people came up to you and said that they were going to take away your home or business or children, you'd probably stand up and say, 'No, you can't do that! I have my rights protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.' And if you said that, you'd be describing a republic."

- Civics in Seconds -

There! See? The constitution supersedes democracy in order to protect us from mob mentality. Which means elections don't have to be Democratic/winner take all. They can work a whole other way.

Right now, if the candidate you vote for doesn't win the election, you end up without representation. How about a system with no winners or losers. Whoever you vote for becomes your representative. Period. Everybody gets representation. Representatives who represent the most people wield the most power.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
Every campaign finance reform bill that has ever existed has done nothing more than limit the amount of the bribes that public officials are legally allowed to accept. It's got to stop. Make it illegal for anyone to contribute anything to a political candidate, period. Also make it illegal for political candidates to use their own money for their campaign. All political campaigns will be paid for entirely by the government, with each candidate receiving the exact same amount. Freed from the burden of fundraising, politicians can actually focus on doing their jobs.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
The Star Spangled Banner is the worst song I've ever heard. Our national anthem should be Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
Add an insurance tax to the price of gasoline and drivers will never have to deal with the DMV or car insurance companies again. Split the cost of the tax between the consumers and the providers. Everybody who drives will be automatically insured and registered. Those who drive the most will pay the most, and if you want to save money on your insurance, all you have to do is drive less. There would be NO MORE uninsured drivers. Period. Everyone who buys gas is automatically insured. No more monthly payments of hundreds of dollars. All it takes to be completely insured for the road is the price of a gallon of gas. No more arresting people for driving without insurance. The very fact you're driving means you bought gas which means you're insured. Police can focus on other things. Create a single monopoly out of the DMV and all the major insurance companies in which every single transaction is taken care of at the pump. Make the tax 100% earmarked to the bureaucracy that deals with payment of claims, which are all no-fault.
Michael Dare 10 days ago
It's completely absurd that congressmen and senators have to physically be in the building to vote on measures. We've got the internet and laptops. Why on earth did Ted Kennedy have to get out of his hospital bed and go to Congress in a wheelchair to vote on a measure when he could just as easily done it from home. If they don't have to actually be there, there can be NO MORE EXCUSES FOR NOT VOTING. Make it MANDATORY to vote on EVERY MEASURE, and make it so they can't vote until they've actually heard both sides of the issue.