Can't love this site enough

Check out Master of My Public Domain for a some great, classic radio and tv.

TruFocals Go Blurry

Well, I tried. After many months of enjoying, or trying to, my nifty little and very expensive TruFocals glasses I finally had to throw in the towel. The concept is sound but, for me, the execution lacks. Tragic incident number 1 was when my then 2 year-old-daughter pulled a book off the bathroom counter and knocked the glasses to a tile floor. One of the two magnetically attached lenses took the brunt of the impact and cracked. In addition, one of the fluid chambers burst and the transparent liquid that refracts incoming light for focusing leaked out. The second incident was my fault. The stems were slightly off so I attempted to adjust them by bending the frame. That threw the focusing off on the just-repaired lens. So, back to the shop. The final straw happened last week. I slid the focusing adjustment for reading and sproink the left lens went blurry. Busted.

So, I’m done experimenting. It’s back to my visually cumbersome progressive glasses for now. Maybe... LASIK?

Devour it


Nice Cube

I’ve still got mine. Macworld speaks highly. And further.


Looking back today, it seems that the Cube was simply ahead of its time. It was an ingenious and striking design that missed the mark by about five years—and $1,000. But don’t tell that to the loyal Cube owners out there, from whom you couldn’t pry their Cubes from their cold, dead hands. The G4 Cube’s enduring appeal from Mac fans is a testament to its unique and visionary design that has yet to be duplicated—even in the Mac mini—to this day.


WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo.

Here's (the exact) Johnny (you're looking for)!

Neat. From the Los Angeles Times:

Carson Entertainment Group, which owns the archive of the late-night host's 30 years on "The Tonight Show," is set to announce Wednesday that it has digitized all 3,300 hours of existing footage from the program and created a searchable online database for producers and researchers.

Here’s Johnny

Your Tuesday Dance Clip

Screen shot 2010-08-10 at 7.31.46 AM

Open Your Present, the Future's Inside


io9 links to the Paleo-Future site this week. The recent trend among old dudes and dudettes toward bitching about their denied promised future (flying cars, robots, you know – the stuff we don’t have) has left me cold given the fact that we live in the freakin’ future (at dinner last night I kept myself company with Wired Magazine and A State Within on this before paying for dinner with old-school plastic). Paleo–Future chronicles human endeavor’s big what-ifs in a terrific collection of ongoing articles and images. Most of them rocket me right back to a small neighborhood in Indiana when anything was possible.


Live in it

Coast Modern Film Trailer V.2 from Coast Modern on Vimeo.

The song is Sort of Revolution by Fink.


Ants In My Scanner!

ANTS in my scanner > a five years time-lapse! from françois vautier on Vimeo.

Run some opening credits over this and it’s an award-winning title sequence. By François Vautier. Now go look at the thing he did with Blade Runner.


Up Mashed Inception

Holy heck, this is great fun. Via Doobybrain.

Your Sunday Serenade

Uncle Pecos sings Froggy Went-a-Courtin’!

And here’s the
entire epic. Seeing this as a kid it made me aware of a whole new concept (to me): comedic timing.


I’ve subscribed and so should you.


Hold it this way

From College Humor, Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference.

This might do it

This might get me back into Twitter. I chucked it months ago after finding it vacuous. This could fill the void, I think.

Waiting for Superman

No. Not that Superman. This one. The one that might save my kids and my country.


Hear this

Guy uses his 20-year-old computer to clean up some music.

Finally, the truth about the iPhone 4

You know those Taiwanese News animations that are... are... I’m stumped. Just watch.


In this time of ocean devastation and funky phone antennas it’s nice to know that there’s a Roger Corman in the world.

Four Lions

Cory Doctorow says “This is Spinal Tap for suicide bombers.” That phrase alone has me in line to buy a ticket. [Via BoingBoing]


Kubrick. Scorsese. Bliss.

Kubrick vs Scorsese from Leandro Copperfield on Vimeo.


The Sci-Fi Airshow

If I was eleven years old (and most days I am) the slimmest thought of this being even close to a real thing would have made my Irwin Allen-loving head explode. The joy here is the exquisite “reality” the site employs. These ships are real! Full-size and built to fly. If only. Man. If only.

Handwritten emails

Pilot has a nifty web-based app that turns your handwritten text into a font. This has been done before but this implementation is kinda brilliant.
[Via Lifehacker]


After the pilot for The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was ordered to series by Fox back in the mid-‘90s I found myself attached to the show as a co-producer. Exec producers Carlton Cuse and Jeffrey Boam asked me to come up with an episode pronto and I landed on Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine as the basis for story. Brisco was continually interested in what the future held so having him run up against a villain using a computer to accomplish his crimes made sense. The script was rejected and something else was tried... something I can’t recall. But Babbage, and Ada Lovelace remain fondly in my memory alongside Brisco’s adventure with their machine.

Information Pioneers: Ada Lovelace from Information Pioneers on Vimeo.


In the background

After watching The Jungle Book for the millionth time with my kids, there’s only so much entertainment left that can be squeezed out of Baloo and King Louie’s jive. So, not surprisingly, my eye has been drawn to the backgrounds meant to serve as stage settings to the foreground hijinks. More than once I’ve been struck by how gorgeous those backgrounds are. The backgrounds to Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians are spectacular.

Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if only one could get those backgrounds scrubbed of all those offending major and minor characters? Leave it to the web. More specifically, to Bob Richards. His site, Animation Backgrounds is something to see. Go see it.

[Via Urlesque]

The Secret Powers of Time

Kottke says: A fascinating 10-minute animated talk by Philip Zimbardo about the different "time zones" or "time perspectives" that people can have and how the different zones affect people's world views.


TED: Touch your data

Via Engadget:

In February 2010, the man who built the technology of Minority Report twice -- once for the movie, and once in real life -- spoke at TED about the future of user interface design. Yesterday, TED posted John Underkoffler's entire fifteen-minute video presentation -- a copy of which you'll find right after the break. Get a curated glimpse into his company's tech in the following demo, and hear from the man himself when the gloves might come off.

Dig the drummer

Crooks and Liars]

Apple TV update looming?

Update: ars technica has a nice piece on the subject.

I’ve been using Apple TVs since their introduction. Well, trying to use them, to be precise. At the moment I have three in use wirelessly linked to different Macs. Without warning the links lose themselves and that’s when the voodoo begins. I’ll spend hours resetting, restarting, resynching to get things working again without success. Then, for some sunspotted reason, things will align themselves and behave. In spite of the trouble, I’ve successfully ditched my satellite TV provider. We’re no longer paying for TV unless it’s something we specifically want via the iTunes Store.

Now, it is rumored, that a major update is on the way. An update that might do away with local storage altogether and put all my video, audio and photos on the web. Or something. Whatever it is, it couldn’t be worse than than the current setup. Maybe. Hoping for the best.

The Black Keys

Go watch this. A spectacular music vid shot on the Canon 7D.


[Via Coudal Partners]

Iron Baby

My kids could watch this all day.

Smart business?

If I owned NBC stock I’d be pissed.

Apple surpasses Microsoft.

For the first time in the long history of the dueling computer companies, Apple Inc.'s market capitalization passed that of rival Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday, making Apple the most valuable technology company in the world.

NBC won’t embrace the iPad.

A number of major studios that include NBC and Time Warner are deliberately rejecting HTML5 video in favor of Flash, rumors maintained today. TV networks have allegedly told Apple they have no plans to switch as the cost and results wouldn't be worthwhile. None of the involved companies has confirmed or denied the remarks.

NBC. Still stupid.

My next dog

Velcro this


iPad + Velcro from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

[Via TUAW]

The world out my back door

This is cool. In 1927 Paramount Studios mapped out local environs meant to double for distant locations. Who knew Venice, Italy was so close?

Coudal Partners]

Father's Day

It had been 5 years since Damian Aspinall saw the gorilla he’d raised from infancy.

Swagger Wagon

As the soon-to-possibly-be-owner of a minivan, my cockles are warmed by this.

[Via Ken]

Toys for them, toys for you

Listening to Dan Benjamin’s excellent podcast today, The Conversation. If you’re even slightly geeky, it’s worth checking out. Dan and his guests were talking about ads on websites (I know, dry, right? But you’d be mistaken. Pretty raucous, actually) and these two sites got mentioned:

Playgrounder - The Buyer’s Guide for Kids and Parents and Cool Tools.

I wasn’t on Cool Tools thirty seconds before I bought a
popcorn popper. Go poke around.

My Predication List

Semi-Literate Former Gold Prospector Given Own Cable News Show

So many connections

Infinite xo.

CBS loves it some iPad

Mashable’s article about CBS digging the iPad makes for good reading.

Another aspect of the iPad that stands out for CBS is that the user base is already at one million. That’s important for a content company as large as CBS because while there are other interactive TV initiatives — like Roku, Boxee and others — those products haven’t achieved the reach that the iPad has.

I’ve been iPadding for a little over a week (using Macs since 1987) and can assuredly say that this little appliance has become a solid member of my family. The biggest hits so far -- Alice and Wonderland (here) and Marvel’s comic book reader app.

Jurassic iPad

Terrific reminiscence on the failure of the past meets (too early?) the success of the present.

“Today, of course, it’s an entirely different story: we’re all intimately familiar with the concept of the little computer in our pocket. We fell repeatedly for watered-down Palm handhelds which, in reality, we used rarely; we replaced them with iPhones, which we use too much.

Now the same critics who shit-canned the Newton for the wrong reasons are shit-canning the iPad for the wrong reasons.

The iPad, though, unlike the Newton, is going to win, and win on an epic scale.”

Network notes

Not that I don’t love network notes on scripts. But I might like them better if they could be delivered via this nifty little communicator.

Bend it like the Andrews Sisters

The Ross Sisters. Ever heard of them? They bring an interesting definition to “twist and shout.” Be sure to watch past the harmonizing when things get... bendy.

Watch this book

Could not agree more

Jezebel says it.

Why I don't Tweet

Aimee Mann stepped in some Ice T.








An incredible short film by Patrick Jean.


It’s official. Consider this an equivalent moment: ditching the telegraph for the telephone, the landline for the cell, internal combustion for electric. We’re losing the keyboard slowly. Slowly losing the mouse. Slowly but inexorably moving into the realm of gesture and voice. And thought. What happens when we communicate with our ideas and our ideas talk back? Joy.



The President has some fun. Yeah, and linking him to an Apple product is just plain nuts, I know. But I’m high on some new, inventive, simple, helpful brilliant thinking. And Steve Jobs thinks pretty well, too.

Turing Machine

I’m writing this on a MacBook. I’ll send it to the web in just a few minutes. An everyday miracle of science. Sometimes it takes a primitive expression of an arcane art to reveal the true beauty of the human mind and all its imaginings. You can quote me.

Watching this Turing Machine in action, even its sounds (clicks and whirrs), affects me in a way I can’t describe. But somewhere within me my geek string has been plucked. Gears. A felt tip pen. And film stock. All in a well-timed ballet of promise. A promise of technology and what we could do, and now do, with numbers.

Ben Folds Chatroulette

I’ve yet to do this thing the kids speak of, this Chatroulette (color me terrified) but Ben Folds, following the lead of “Merton” makes it feel all right.


Speaking of flying cars...

Jalopnik links to Popular Science’s best flying car covers. Ah, if only.


Not a flying car, but it's close

To really get this, watch it with the sound off. Just look at this thing. I mean look at it. Holy cripes.

The death of print journalism

I love these guys.

Warner Bloopers

Via Neatorama, a fun collection of Warner Bros. outtakes from the 1930s.

This won't end well


Embrace Life

Get the story here.

Now look at me

Leo LaPorte interviews the creators of that fantastic Old Spice Commercial. Brilliant stuff.

My kids will be thrilled. Not me. Could care less. Really. Not even interested. Maybe I should get tickets now.

Toy Story 3 Trailer 2 in HD

Trailer Park Movies | MySpace Video

Discussing the iPad

Charlie Rose spoke with David Carr, Michael Arrington and Walt Mossberg about Apple’s new iPad.


Shootout science

Pal Bob Goodman clued me to this (perhaps because I’ve just written a shootout on main street for a certain show I’m working on).

A fun examination of the neuroscience behind the Western Showdown.

iPad as terror weapon (aimed at tech gurus)

“What you’re seeing in the industry’s reaction to the iPad is nothing less than future shock.”

Via John Gruber.

For the last few days I’ve been conflicted about my non-reaction to the iPad intro. The link above resolves the conflict.

Chaplin before The Tramp

I always assumed Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character was launched fully formed into film history. Not so. CNN has a great feature on the creation of a classic character.

iPad via Mad TV

NPR snagged the Mad TV writers who introduced the world to the original iPad. Funny.

Steve Jobs in 1994: The Rolling Stone Interview

In 1994 Steve Jobs was the man banished from Apple and striving to make NeXT the next big thing. But something else lay in store. Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell walks us back 16 years to a simpler time. It’s a great interview.

Your pad or mine?

NSFW on first

As one who’s worked in the Abbott and Costello building on a certain movie lot, this has special significance. Cue the spit-take.




When I was a kid I stumbled across Leonard Bernstein on tv explaining how and why music is music. I can safely say it changed my life. No, I don’t play an instrument or read or write music. What I was enlightened to by Bernstein was process. The creative process. A few years later, after becoming enamored with movie soundtracks, a good friend suggested that if I loved soundtracks so much I should consider going to the source: classical music. Specifically, Aaron Copland. Life changed again. BoingBoing has been posting a series called Adventures in Music that shouldn’t be missed. The above clip is one of them. Have a good Sunday.

Cantaloupe Island

Crooks and Liars linked to this tonight. Must repost. Pat Metheny is a guitar god.

McGee nirvana

In my humble opinion, there was no better writer of crime fiction than John D. MacDonald. If you’re a fan, you understand. If you like Stephen King or appreciate films like Mystic River (based on Dennis Lehane’s excellent novel) or revel in the dense plotting of The Wire’s good bad-guys and bad good-guys and haven’t yet discovered MacDonald then spend some time over at Steve Scott’s fantastic site, The Trap of Solid Gold. Let Mr. Scott, who seriously knows his stuff, fill you in:

My name is Steve Scott and I've been a reader of the works of author John D MacDonald for over 35 years. In 1981 I had the privilege of assisting Walter and Jean Shine by doing research for a second edition of their definitive Bibliography of MacDonald's novels and short stories. John was an incredibly prolific author of primarily crime and mystery fiction and, between 1946 and 1986, published nearly 400 stories and over 65 novels. I hope to use this blog to share some of my knowledge, opinions, information and artwork from an old and dusty collection of JDM stuff.

Go fall into The Trap of Solid Gold.

Old media is new again

From Daily Finance:

Steve Jobs plans to bring new hope to old media with his tablet device. It will work well as a web-searching tool, but in addition it will almost certainly offer access to a wide array of text books, newspapers, and TV shows. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs plans to "expand Apple's influence and revenue as a content middleman." The company is already a dominant force in digital music because of its iTunes business. The Journal reports Apple is in talks with major newspaper companies and textbook firms.

iCannot Wait!

Gizmodo has a great roundup of the Apple tablet rumors. Lots of fun stuff here. Yippee.

The Virtual Revolution

Gizmodo’s heads-up re: The BBC’s upcoming documentary, The Virtual Revolution. Looks cool.

Get lost

The music of your childhood

Links to iTunes
The movie Funny Bones relied heavily on Raymond Scott’s music to salt the comedy-drama with just the right amount of wacky. Listening to it, you might be surprised to find it spiced up your childhood as well. From classic Warner Bros. cartoons up to Ren, Stimpy, Spongebob, Pee-Wee and beyond. The roots are Scott’s. Fun and funny.

Kid stories

If you have kids, or even if you don’t, this article is worth a read. About three years ago, when our twins arrived, I wasn’t paying much attention to the artwork in the Little Golden Books what with feedings, diapers and lack of sleep crushing my very soul. But lately, now that they’re walking, talking, joking and hurling books at me with shouts of “Read this one,” I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful worlds depicted in my kids’ first published brush (pun intended) with art. The terrific site, The ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive, is recent discovery (via BoingBoing) devoted to art and animation at its most whimsical and imaginative.


Haiti Help

Three links to donate to Haiti. Via iTunes and the White House (links to the Red Cross).

Sports Illustrated's tablet mag demo

Sports Illustrated put together a demo of what their magazine might look like on a tablet. If you’re curious as to what Apple’s tablet might look and feel like, after watching this we can only hope.

Teslas on full!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The year we make contact

Tim VanDamme via John Gruber.

It looks like everyone and their next door neighbor is super excited about whatever Apple will supposable reveal on January 27th. We’re no longer asking ourselves “Will Apple launch a tablet,” or “When will the tablet be available?” No, we’re completely certain Apple will reveal a 10” touchscreen pumped up iPhone/scaled down Mac in the upcoming weeks.

End of the world

Mind your morning commute

VH1 Reality Show Bus Crashes In California Causing Major Slut Spill

Mark your calendar

Screening at midnight on 2/26/10 at the Fairfax Cinema in Los Angeles.

The Nautilus in Paris

Courtesy of Martin Smith.

DLP Mysteries of the Nautilus from Martins Videos on Vimeo.

Action News!!!

Again, from BoingBoing. A seriously slick 1980s news promo for Milwaukee station WITI. Genius!

Prison Fashion

This has nothing to do with pants-worn-under asses by those young men seemingly unaware that the style denotes a willingness for prison ass f*cking.

This is about IVP Designs.
Get familiar here.



Slipping into Steampunk

Those familiar with my love of Harper Goff’s Victorian design for Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Nautilus might assume I’m a huge Steampunk fan. Not so. I’m a fan, sure, having become enamored with the look through my work on Warehouse 13, but I’m not a rabid follower. Not yet. Prowling Steampunk on the net, this exhibit at London’s Museum of the History of Science popped up and peaked my interest.

If you don't know John Martyn

Get to know him. “Musician” doesn’t even come close.


Via Boing Boing.

Words that move (you)

“Lately I’ve become completely enamored with kinetic typography.”

That’s from Lynn La for an article she wrote at Kinetic typography is the art of putting words to movement. You’ve seen this in the opening credits of films like North by Northwest. Get moving.

Making music

This is probably the most amazing thing I’ve seen all year. And, yeah, that includes Avatar. Hit play.


A Ballet of Destruction


The GOP raises Reagan from the dead.

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

Memory (Chip) Lane

I'm sick as a sick sick dog today. So of course I'm reflecting on better times. Ahh. Hardware.

He's a bastard.

But he's our bastard.

Fortune has the details.

You Know. For Freaks.

You Know. For Kids.

How I Got the Flu

From Robert Krulwich at NPR.

Probably Bad News

You've no doubt seen late-night comics displaying odd local news headlines. If you like the joke (and who doesn't?), get your fix here.

Tapdancing on Roller Skates

We've all had the experience. Work is crazy. Life is crazier. Gene Kelly makes it art.

Sweet fancy Moses.

Go Podcast, Young Person

I do a podcast with Marc Zicree. I found Dan Benjamin's original article to be a great help in getting started. He's updated his advice. If you're interested in the possibilities, check it out.

Vic Mizzy

The recently departed Vic Mizzy composed, among other things, the score to a film that changed my pre-adolescent life. Until then I'd no idea that scary could be funny.

Saw this movie with my dad. I'd never seen him laugh so hard as when Knotts tried to get into that unsteady elevator.

What Recession?

Apple rocks it. CNEThas the details.
  • Apple recorded revenue of $9.87 billion and earnings of $1.67 billion, or $1.82 per share. That's up from the $7.9 billion in revenue and $1.26 per share of a year ago. And that easily fell within the range of what Wall Street was hoping for. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share somewhere between $1.24 and $1.72, and revenue between $8.74 billion and $10.55 billion.

Newspapers Lose the Paper

It's going to happen. And with this, subscription-based "print" media will finally be justified.

From Wired: Picture a free magazine app that offers one sample issue and the ability to purchase future issues afterward. Or a newspaper app that only displays text articles with pictures, but paying a fee within the app unlocks an entire new digital experience packed with music and video. This is an example of the “freemium” model that Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson explains in his book Free. It’s a model that some publishers, including Wired’s parent company Condé Nast, are already experimenting with on their websites. (Our sister publication Ars Technica, for example, offers its general content for free, as well as a “Premier” subscription option for readers to access exclusive content.)

500 Pound Apple Gorilla

From Forbes...

Fanboy Alert: I was born without a sports gene but do have a substantial "win one for the, Gipper" mentality. And I mean the real Gipp, not Reagan. Comes from being raised within spitting distance of Notre Dame, I guess. Anyway, for years I suffered along with everyone else who knew in their techno-hearts that Apple was the best thing going. And for years it was going down the drain. Nice to see it in juggernaut mode.

  • The Cupertino, Calif.-based gizmo and computer company's earnings are expected to jump 14% Monday when it reports results for the quarter ended September.

I know. What goes up, must come down. But the company had been down for so long and so derided that this new lease on life (for Jobs, too) is sweet.

  • So, what will it take to hurt Apple? Who knows. Maybe if things start going right, for a change. Bad news--and outright weird news--has only made these guys stronger. The takeaway: If aliens invade, go long on Apple.


Comedian Marc Maron makes me laugh. These guys make me howl. iTunes required.

Hammer Time

Growing up in Indiana in the early '70s the heady mix of my father's Playboy collection in his sock drawer and Hammer films at the State Theater provided plenty of, well, grist. Watching Chris Lee stalk a voluptuous lady Brit was thrilling and terrifying. Adolescent lust, indeed. Seems I wasn't alone.

Time Capsule: Dead

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 2.59.42 PM
Count me in as one of the unlucky few. Damn thing never worked.

The Nautilus

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 10.52.32 AM
Folks who know me (and have seen my home office) know that I have a thing (putting it mildly) for a piece of Harper Goff-designed movie brilliance. The Nautilus from Disney's 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been a fascination for me since childhood. Looks like there's a another version of the boat out there for me to get my hands on.

Not to mention
this bit of artistic genius.


Everyday I get closer to cutting the satellite mainline to my TV artery and going totally digital. The latest salvo was delivered by Netflix's Roku box. Streaming movies and TV shows via Roku beats Apple's AppleTV hands down. Worth checking out if you have a Netflix subscription (or even if you don't). Add in Amazon's video streaming offerings and it's harder to ignore. C/Net Review.

Stanley Kubrick on The Zicree Simkins Podcast

How cool is this? While reading John Gruber's excellent Daring Fireball I landed on his linked posting of a 1966 interview with Stanley Kubrick by Jeremy Bernstein. So, in true internet swipey-stealy fashion, I grabbed it for the podcast I do with Marc Zicree.

For cool things Kubrick,
check this out. When you're done there, go explore here. Great site. Great webness.

From Comedy to Horror

This pretty well nails the current shenanigans going on with the Right.

Taking Some Time

Warehouse 13 is on hiatus. What have I been doing on my summer vacation? Well, I dumped Facebook and Twitter from my life. That was an easy decision. I'd been spending way too much time gazing at navels. Sometimes mine. Mostly everybody else's.

Poking around the web here's a couple things that are holding my interest.

Derren Brown. Check out some of his television stunts here. Nice article here at about his astounding lottery number prediction.

Apple's Snow Leopard has been a nice distraction. Tracking its fun and foibles are
John Gruber and Merlin Mann, two excellent writers in the Mac and tech trade.

I'm There: The Red Band Trailer for LEGION

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Beyond Our Control

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The Comic Con Warehouse 13 Panel

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Making Head with Ed and Ted

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Apple Not Slowed By Recession

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Christmas is Coming!

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How We Got Here

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I Want One

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A Golden Age

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The Cheers

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Thank God That's Over

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Get Well Soon

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Trailer Fun

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"The Meat Pieces"

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Where's My Flying Car?

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A Must Have

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The Archive of American Television

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Toys as Narrative

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Travis McGee

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There's Bound To Be Bargains

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If You Won't Listen to Me...

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The War of the Worlds

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Porn in the Afternoon

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Digital. Not Digitalis.

The Object of My Affliction

Apple dropped some new hardware today. In spite of the fact that I’ve got more Macs than I know what to do with... I want. Check it here.

Disaster Coverage

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Another Sci Fi and More Channel

Picture 1
Remember when TV used to promise to take you places you’d never been and show you wondrous things? The AMC Network is beginning to convince me that it remembers that promise. MAD MEN is part of that. Writer/director Michael Nankin is working on a series set in WWII about downed B-17 fliers trapped behind enemy lines. And the novel Carter Beats the Devil about the trials and adventures of an early 20th Century magician is slated for production. As the networks keep regurgitating the same old same old it’s heartening and inspiring to see AMC (and A&E) reaching up to embrace ambitious stories that can elevate and entertain.

Okay, This is Just Great

My Guilty Ghostly Pleasure

My wife laughs at me for loving this. Ghost Hunters on the Sci Fi Channel. I have absolute, unabashed deep affection for two New England plumbers and their little band of cohorts who travel around the country searching for creepy stuff. Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes are the show’s two leads. They’re accessible, disarming and determined to debunk what they can. But mostly they’re a hoot. With SUVs loaded to the fenders with high-tech gear (and stalked by a run and gun video and sound crew) they roll into some town or city and crash for the night at the local spook spot. Bars, hotels, factories, or families’ homes are their playground. Sometimes they get nothing on tape. Sometimes they get... something. I’m not saying I believe in supernatural jump-up (at least not while my pragmatic psychotherapist wife is watching). But I do believe Grant and Jason have a blast chasing it down. Me too, watching them do it.

Check out the clip below to see some of their “findings.”

Fender Benders

Over at The Zicree Simkins Podcast Marc Zicree and I had a great conversation with TV writer/producer Lee Goldberg. Lee tells a great tale of going to Germany to help the TV industry over there get a grip on how to get and keep a growing audience. To get a glimpse of one of Germany’s more intriguing efforts check out the clip below. Ladies and Gents, ALARM FOR COBRA 11.

The Object of My Affection

In 1999, feeling nostalgiac for one of the the films that inspired me, I started looking around for an off-the-shelf model kit of the Nautilus submarine from Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
There wasn’t one. So, after searching the web relentlessly for anything coming close to a replica of the sub, I discovered a fellow named Jim Key. Jim’s website, Custom Replicas, spelled out services for the discriminating yuppie desperate to relive his youth. Jim is a former prop builder for movies and television. But after years of toiling in model shops he found his talents being pushed aside by computer generated effects. So he offered his skills to anyone wanting a, well, custom replica of whatever anyone might want. I wanted the Nautilus. Jim and fellow artisan Scott Brodeen, a Nautilus aficionado, went to work. Within the year I had a 5’6” Nautilus. Coolest toy I ever bought myself. A small cottage industry began and the sub has gone slightly mainstream. Interested? Check out the Nautilus Drydocks.

Barack Rolled!

Just. Watch.

The Wire - Season 5

“When you walk through the garden you got to watch your back.”

If you’re a fan, you know. The Wire is the best show now not on television (unless it’s on your DVD player and right this moment it’s on mine). If you haven’t seen it – or maybe you tried it and gave up – there will come a time when you will become immersed. And you’ll become a zealot. You will gift seasons of The Wire to your family, your friends and to your mailman.

Simkins sez hey.

Welcome. Thanks for dropping in. In short order I’ll be adding to this site, shoveling in some observations, opinions and other items of limited interest. I know this place sounds like a law firm. Actually the site name, the name of my company, is a callback to my formative years. A neighborhood. A street. The place where, as a kid growing up in the midwest, I spent hours watching television and loving it. This was the tv of the 1960s and 70s. The years of Quinn Martin and Irwin Allen. Of Jim West and Alexander Mundy. Of Partridges and Bunkers and Fugitives and Cronkite getting me to the moon and back. If you’ve got an interest how TV works or a question about the biz you need answered drop me a quick note.

David Simkins