Blame Amazon

I have to apologise for not assembling the Tuesday Blogscan today, and also for missing the annual Daily Grail April Fool's gag for the first time in a long while. My excuse is a serious one - sorting through a huge controversy which has erupted with Amazon trying to take control of the print on demand industry (something which could impact me considerably). You can read about it in full detail on my Publish Yourself website, but in short this is the deal:

Bookselling giant Amazon is using strong-arm tactics in an attempt to take control of the fast-growing Print on Demand publishing industry, pursuing a new, hardline policy for publishers: if you want a print-on-demand book to be stocked on, you need to leave your current printer and sign up with the Amazon-owned printer Booksurge. Publishers have received phone calls from Booksurge with "an offer you can't refuse" - convert to the Amazon-owned company, or the 'Buy' button will be removed from your books' Amazon pages.

The enabling facets of Print on Demand technology make us all potential publishers. As such, we should *all* be concerned about Amazon's attempt to monopolise the industry at this early stage of its development."

How is this relevant to readers of The Daily Grail? Put quite simply, the continuation of TDG depends on the success of my self-publishing projects such as Darklore - otherwise I can no longer justify the time and money required to keep the site running. Amazon have just thrown a fair sized spanner into those plans - thankfully, I have not been directly affected yet, but it might be just a matter of time...

(To be absolutely clear, there is no April Fool's joke hidden within this story. You can revisit old AFD stories here: 2005, 2006, and 2007)

Flurb #5

The fifth issue of Rudy Rucker's most excellent webzine Flurb is now available online. Flurb offers "astonishing tales" of a sci-fi flavour. Plenty of weird and wonderful speculative fiction to satisfy even the most hardcore Grailer out there - good fun. (h/t Boing Boing)

News Briefs 31-03-2008

Don't Panic! The news is here.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

"The carcasses removd they went not far but to them appeard a spring, at which they tried to make the Beast drink, but in vain, till Diana's doves in shining bright attire calmed the air with their silver wing."

Isaac Newton

Psychedelic Addendum

As an addendum to the story I posted last week on the Wade Davis documentary Peyote to LSD - A Psychedelic Odyssey: the director of the feature, Peter von Puttkamer, posted a comment here on TDG confirming the air date in the U.S. (on The History Channel) of April 20th and giving some further details...

It's a fascinating show - amazing to work on with Wade - working in 5 different countries - participating in rarely if ever filmed native hallucinogenic ceremonies from the American Southwest, to Oaxaca, Mexico to the Ecuadorian Amazon. This is maybe the first film to really look at the origins of hallucinogens (and their use as MEDICINE for native peoples to heal mind, body and spirit and its introduction to the western world: from jungle shamans to the hippie generation; it's a true travel-adventure trip with Wade as our guide - taking us in the footsteps of his Harvard mentor Richard E Schultes.

We went and experienced all the same plants, medicines and hallucinogens that Schultes did...Bob Weir ads some great comments- plus lent us some cool Grateful Dead music and Dr. Andrew Weil brings a lot of authority and real perspective to the subject of hallucinogens: as institutions like UCLA, Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University revisit the psychedelics as a way of treating mental disorders, depression and even helping the sick and dying- we may realize that there's more to learn from these gifts of the indigenous peoples, than was previously thought.

See the trailer and a new Wade Davis Discover Magazine article at

I have also added the trailer as a video here on TDG - make sure you check out the Discover interview with Wade Davis mentioned as well. Thanks to Peter for passing on the information to us all.

Weekend Blogscan 29-03-2008

A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...


News Briefs 28-03-2008

Drink up, it's closing time...

Quote of the Day:

Access to water is a fundamental human need and therefore a basic human right.

Kofi Annan

Bloodline Makeover

The website for the documentary Bloodline had a massive makeover earlier this week, and now looks extremely purty and has plenty of features worth browsing through (with more still to be added). The film - which touches on many of the elements in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and the seminal Holy Blood, Holy Grail - is due for release in May in theatres in New York and Los Angeles.

Currently on the site you'll find a bunch of raw film clips from the 3 year 'journey' of film-maker Bruce Burgess, the trailer for the film, a number of pictures from the shooting, and details as to what the film covers. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for in May.

(In the interests of full disclosure: the film's producers have this week enquired about advertising here on TDG. This story was not posted for this reason though - as regular readers will know, I have been posting updates about Bloodline for some time now, as it is a topic of interest to many Grailers).

Joseph Campbell's Journey

At Cabinet of Wonders, Emps has posted a great video series on the life and work of Joseph Campbell:

Joseph Campbell's work on myth was some of the most influential ever done, not only for our understanding of the power and nature of such tales, but also because he broke the structure down to core elements, which could then be used as a template by writers and film makers - cropping up everywhere from Star Wars to The matrix (see The Writer's Journey for both a how-to and an analysis of a number of films, including The Fully Monty - who knew?).

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth is an epic 6 hour documentary, which explores this topic through long interviews with Campbell and others (conducted over 2 years at George Lucas' ranch). It is not just one of best documentaries on this topic, but is truly a tour de force of the medium which you'd struggle to find these days.

I don't think I have 6 free hours in the next year, but I'll be trying to fit as much of this in as I can!

News Briefs 27-03-2008

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Molto obrigado, Greg

Quote of the Day:

"I am what Harry Potter grew up into, and it's not a pretty sight."

Alan Moore

MUFON Journals Online

John Greenewald's "The Black Vault" and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) have done us all a great service by putting online the MUFON Archive:

The MUFON Archive is a joint effort between the MUTUAL UFO Network (MUFON) and The Black Vault. In March of 2008, the two parties agreed to enter a powerful relationship on the internet, and offer unprecedented access to MUFON's archives. This includes four decades worth of MUFON Journals, from the year 1967 to the end of 2007, along with other research papers, documents and investigation case files.

This archive offers an important look into the past, present and future of UFO research. Many of these documents and publications are found nowhere else online, anywhere in the world.

That's right, *four decades* of journals, from one of the oldest and most important organisations dedicated to the scientific research of the UFO phenomenon. Each available as a PDF download. Wonderful stuff! (h/t UFO Mystic)