Sunday, October 27, 2013

What if The Beatles never happened?

While perusing to see if The Beatles' CD box set I bought in Afghanistan was in fact the bootleg version (of course it was), I found this interesting discussion:

Supposing The Beatles never happened?
Initial post: Apr 18, 2008 8:02:06 PM PDT

The year is 1963. The first major blast of authentic Rock'Roll (Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Buddy Holly) has come and gone. Pretty boy-schlock pop dominates for a while as do the girl groups. The Phil Spector "sound" is particularly popular, Mowtown is in the midst of breaking big and, for "group" sounds, America has the surf sound of The Beach Boys, the whatever sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jay and The Americans, Dion and the Belmonts and a LOT of movie soundtracks selling like crazy...and here we be, nothing much else, newer or fresher anywhere to be hinted at (something about a beat group having a local hit in England called My Bonnie but they never got that elusive record contract-broke up or something) where "did" the road of popular music go from here?
The whole conversation is worth checking out. Some of the best answers get downright deeply social:
Actually Debbie, your post does raise a question much more sociological and I'd argue that, in their way, the Beatles did a lot to push back the civil rights movement, a sentiment that was first posed by R&B artists like Ben E. King in the BBC's Rock n Roll documentary. There was a feeling, before the Beatles came, that things were going to change, that there was a breakthrough about to happen, and when the British invasion groups came in, those artists were pushed aside for the "prettier" white artists. You see bands like the Moody Blues topping the charts with "Go Now" instead of the original version. Maybe from a "What If?" standpoint, we might have gone in a better direction as a society. There'd be no need for "Imagine," or even later more militant songs from within the African-American community like Sly Stone's "Don't Call Me Whitey, N*****." This was actually a really great post. Don't let people tell you differently.

I think no Beatles means the American music scene would never have been overtaken by the British Invasion. Which means American music would have stayed more based out of Memphis, Detroit, and Chicago. It wouldn't have been American musicians feeding off British musicians influenced by American musicians. American music would be more directly influenced by the blues or jazz or maybe even bluegrass and not British pop. And that would mean probably more call-and-response songs than verse-chorus-verse songs.

Which means probably no Nirvana, which is heavily verse-chorus-verse. So much so, in fact, that Kurt Cobain named a song after the format.

Also, I am no Elvis expert, but I think without The Beatles, Elvis maybe never falls off. Maybe the counter-culture pushes him aside with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, etc, but what does the counter-culture sound like without the drugged-up experimenting later years version of The Beatles?

Ipso facto, there would be no Pulp Fiction bonus scene and no theory that people could be Beatles People or Elvis People, not both.

The domino effect of a world with no Beatles would also be profound in heavy metal, as the Amazon discussion touches on. First, there would be no Black Sabbath, which means the entire spectrum of heavy metal would look different. No Black Sabbath means no Ozzy, which robs the world of one of music's most interesting personalities.

Maybe the members of The Beatles arrive on the music scene later, maybe they never get bigger than Britain. Maybe they end up in pub bands. Which would mean no "Imagine", no Wings, no popular cover version of "I Got My Mind Set On You", and no whatever it was Ringo did outside of The Beatles.

Wasn't he on The Simpsons once?

(Pic from

Friday, October 18, 2013

Weekly Book Update #8

I have been working on my first book over the past year. My goal is to have this book published. Not self-published, but actually published by a publisher. I've self-published before and I might do so again, but I want to test the waters in the publishing industry. I want to put the name of a publisher on my resume.

With that in mind, I've decided to make every Friday "Book Update Day". Every Friday I give an update as to where I am in the writing/editing/publishing process - at least as far as I can say.

Book Status:

I finished re-writing the second chapter. I've sent the rough draft to a few friends. Although I was busy with school during the week, hopefully they took some time to read it and hopefully I get feedback soon. Then the goal is to look for sports fiction publishers, then of course, prepare a proposal.

Interesting links of the week:

Here are a few links that have inspired me this week:

First, a paragraph from

Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them. - MICHAEL MICHALKO

Second, I've mentioned Jessie Rosen of 20-Nothings before. I really dig her blog. In one of her latest posts, she discusses how her and her fiancee are hoping to buy a church in the small upstate NY town of Hudson and turn the empty church into a theater for the arts. Such an awesome idea. Of course, we shall see how well they can do it being from LA.

My Fiancee and I Are Buying an Abandoned Church - Part 1 (20-Nothings)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rescuing AfroSquad dot com from The MAN

For those who have been following the last few years, every so often I mention the AfroSquad, the funky forebearers of  fro-wearing fun. Legend has it the AfroSquad was two guys, one in Michigan and the other in Texas doing similar videos and posting them in the days before YouTube.

Sometime in the early 2000s, the AfroSquad was forced underground and someone forgot to pay the website bill. The name expired, the name was claimed, and the AfroSquad moved to, where you can still find some funny stuff. However, after a little web perusing I found the name is for sale. I thought maybe I had a chance to reclaim the name and bring it back to the old school 'cause I'm an old fool who's so cool. And after I got done singing "Whomp, There It Is", I would bring some funkiness back to the domain that started it all. So I sent an email to the company responsible for the negotiation of I told them I was interested and asked how much the owner was willing to sell it for. I had a price in mind and was willing to cough up a few hundred dollars, tops. A few days later, I received an email response (abbreviated due to confidentiality):
Hello Michael, I am the Domain Broker who represents This domain name has been previously quoted at $28,000.00 USD. If you would like to make an offer we'd be happy to present it on your behalf and see what the owner says. Thanks very much for your interest.
That's right. $28,000 dollars. As much as nice car or a legit down payment on a house. Now I don't know how much website ads make. I don't anyone who clicks ads, although I have heard advertising on the web is a way to make money. But $28,000? That's a lot of cash. I wrote the company back and offered $250. Like I said, I was willing to throw down a little bit. Not a lot, but a little bit. Considering I have never bought a website name for more than $12, I thought $250 was rather reasonable. Especially for a site with nothing on it. Crazy, right? Then I received this response to my counter-offer:
Hi Michael The domain owner appreciates your feedback but respectfully declines your offer. All the best to you and your venture.
The domain broker also informed me the seller was willing to go as low as 20% off the $28,000 price. Well, that is still over $20,000 for a website name. So The MAN continues to hold hostage.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekly Book Update #7

I have been working on my first book over the past year. My goal is to have this book published. Not self-published, but actually published by a publisher. I've self-published before and I might do so again, but I want to test the waters in the publishing industry. I want to put the name of a publisher on my resume.

With that in mind, I've decided to make every Friday "Book Update Day". Every Friday I will give an update as to where I am in the writing/editing/publishing process - at least as far as I can say.

(And I missed another Book Update last week. This is almost turning into a bi-weekly update. But once I give in to bi-weekly, then it is a slippery slope to yearly.)

Book Status:

I finished re-writing the second chapter. Yesterday I added some much needed text to the story to get it off and rolling into the main plot. I am really excited now, because I think I am in the ballpark to being done. And I think it reads well now. Everything flows nicely, at least I think so.

The goal now is to maybe give the story another once over and meanwhile look for sports fiction publishers, then of course, prepare a proposal. I am also open to sending a polished draft a select group of friends, colleagues, or other writer folk.

Interesting links of the week:

Here are a few links that have inspired me this week:

This week is Timothy Leary Week. According to, the New York Public Library acquired a mass amount of the famed psychologist/drug advocate's personal library. This week, the NY Public Library made the collection public opening the archives to researchers, historians, and other curious individuals.

I've mentioned before how big of a fan I am of writer Aldous Huxley. Huxley was influenced a lot by Leary's studies, especially in regards to thoughts of reaching higher consciousness through psychedelic drugs. Huxley then influenced Jim Morrison, who named his band "The Doors" after Huxley's Doors of Perception book. I got into The Doors years ago and worked my way backwards to Leary.

Here are two recent articles on Leary from

Timothy Leary’s Transformation From Scientist to Psychedelic Celebrity -

This article explores Leary's migration from Harvard professor to drug advocate. While some discouraged his work, others praised it. The article takes a fair look at whether both the criticism or the adulation was warranted while adding a good amount of history to the context.

Turn On, Boot Up, and Jack In With Timothy Leary’s Long-Lost Videogames -

In this article, looks at Leary's later years and his experimentation with computer games. According to the article, Leary saw potential in the networking aspect of computer programs years before the Internet emerged as a force. Leary helped create computer games and models that helped expand the mind, using the computer systems as he did drugs years earlier.

Last but definitely not least, here is a link to the Timothy Leary Online Archives. It has been a big week for them. Tons of great stuff on this site from pictures to letters to links to other material.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Obama loves Pokemon

The federal government shutdown is causing a lot of pain for many. For others, it is the source of conflict and dispute. For enemies of the state, it is creating opportunity. For most, it is the source of frustration.

For the creative-minded geniuses at FilmCow, it is an opportunity to create a hilarious South Park-like animated short bringing to light President Obama's love of Pokemon cards. To be honest, I didn't think Pokemon cards were still a thing.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Comedy Improv Campaign

One of the more interesting classes I've been taking during my first semester back in school is Improv for Business Organizations. This class is a creative thinking class designed to get people out of their perfunctory little boxes and encourage them to think creatively in the workplace. The class is big on the exchange of ideas and never saying "no" and is based on the skill sets of comedy improv.

Having done a smattering of comedy over the last few years, I've taken to this class like a fish to coffee. I've always been the creative sort (as you may or may not be able to tell), and the class has given me justification and even a bit of reaffirmation that through the years I've been doing something right. It also reaffirms my idea that I would at some point in time like to take an improv class at one of the major improv schools in either LA, New York, or Chicago. Perhaps I can also one day turn my creativity into a teaching gig. That would be cool.

Anywhoozle, the other day friend of the site and fellow Tampa writer Clark Brooks linked to an interesting fundraising campaign on his website - which I have written for three times (shameless plug). This campaign, entitled, Comedy Improv Can Save the World, is a film project by comedian Jacqueline Kabat in which she plans to film a documentary of her traveling to three places across America and putting on comedy improv clinics. Her students in these classes are vastly different sectors of America: returning PTSD war veterans in California, Chicago inner city youth, and New York Wall Street investors. And she is filming the whole thing.

I think her cause is fascinating. Especially the veterans part. Perhaps there is something else I could do one day. I know the military and a little bit of where those guys have been. While Jacqueline is working with veterans in California, I wonder if anyone is using improv techniques to work with veterans in Florida. But I digress.

In order to get her project going, Jacqueline Kabat is looking for help. $10, 25, 500 dollars, it doesn't matter. But you get stuff the more you donate.

So if you can, lend a hand. Because that would be cool.