Category Archives: Various and Sundry

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Go A-viking… But Don’t Forget Your Helmet

I really should come up with a symbol/repeatable post that I put up when things get busy, like the prolific writer and de facto pop culture historian Mark Evanier does with his Cream of Mushroom Soup posts. And perhaps it should be Viking-themed.

But while I mull that over… and work on both a script and some audio editing, here’s a darn fine Danish PSA.

And no, Vikings didn’t wear helmets with horns. It could catch on something whilst pillaging.

The Rise and Fall of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Tomorrow, your kids may be binge-watching some cartoon on some streaming services. They may even do so whilst consuming copious amounts of Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs. But they will not be viewing a network broadcast slate of cartoons like generations of kids have. Why is that?

Charles Moss in The Saturday Evening Post has your answers in a article so perfectly titled, I just used it above. He also provides a whole lot more detail about the business forces that led to the animation domination of Saturday mornings, the migration to weekly afternoon, and the hang-wringing (in some quarters) all along the way.

Thanks to Netflix on disc (which, incidentally, still exists) and now streaming services, I have quite firmly gone away from almost all “Event TV,” though the threat of spoilers has led to accelerating some viewing.

But knowing that our kids will never know the ritualized weekend kick-off we did? A slight bummer.

Simply Told and Radiantly Illustrated: Appreciating the Work of Eric Carle

Generations of children may feel the world is a bit less colorful as children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle has died at the age of 91.

There’s a great piece by Emily Langer in the Washington Post, where I got the delightfully succinct phrase “simply told and radiantly illustrated from. There’s also a nice 2-minute piece by Neda Ulaby on NPR as well as a remembrance from the BBC.

Eric Carle and the denizens of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See?, the work with Bill Martin that lit a fire to do children’s books

In these remembrances, you’ll get a sense of not only his career, but his life leading up to a rather life-changing and ravenous caterpillar, including a childhood partially lived in Nazi Germany, depressingly confirmed by him in interviews to be rather devoid of color.

I don’t remember being particularly enamored of Eric Carle’s work growing up even though I recall I enjoyed it. It could be that I discounted its effects as I leaped from picture books to chapter books at a voracious pace. It’s more than likely that I failed to appreciate how much work can go into presenting something simply. For all our interest in magic as kids, we sometimes miss the wizards behind the curtains.

All this changed as a parent, where I got to see firsthand the impact of his books had on my children. And it wasn’t just the books that came into rotation. The animated adaptations were played again and again — and one of my kid’s first theater experiences was seeing a puppet adaptation of several of the stories with me and his children’s librarian grandmother. His face lit up seeing the larger-than-life –and more than a little colorful– caterpillar munch his way through all sorts of prop foods.

It’s nice to know that, in his lifetime, he got to see the joy and color he brought to the world, something delved into by Emma Brockes in a profile of Carle for The Guardian back in 2009.

Thanks for all the colorful memories.

James Bond Will Return… With Free Shipping

Last week, I mentioned the big news that was AT&T’s retreat from WarnerMedia (still to be approved). And, as many people have noticed, media consolidation continues apace.

This week’s revelation? Amazon is looking to buy MGM.

“Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to increase our market share!”

Now, since MGM has been trying to sell itself for a while, this may not come as a surprise, but what this means for consolidation… well, who knows?

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Don’t Worry about not having One True Calling

I’ve had several posts over the years about people finding their purpose in life, several posts about hobbies, and also just generally about motivation.

Especially as so many of us are about to re-enter “normal” work locations and schedules, it’s an opportune time to consider what you want to be doing — and for those of us who have the luxury of considering what to do beyond “anything that pays the bills NOW,” there’s often the push to find “your calling.”

And some of you may be stressed about that.

Well, Emilie Wapnick is here to reassure those of us who have multiple interests, you are okay. In fact, you just may be able to use that to your advantage in your quest for a more satisfying life.

A Singular Ranking of Five Score Sherlock Holmes Portrayals. Most Singular!

I do not know Olivia Rutigliano, but upon starting to read her exhaustive article on Crime Reads ranking 100 portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, I immediately detected that same sort of insanity that drove me to rank all Star Trek episodes. It’s a delightfully thorough list.

Photo collage from the article in question.

I know many of these portrayals, but by Jove, I hardly know all of them. And now, thanks to the assiduous investigation of, one may hope, soon-to-be-Doctor Rutigliano, I can safely avoid some of the dreck.

Much obliged.

Turn off the Gadgets and GO OUTSIDE!

I wish I could find the faux PSA from whence this title came, but even though it’s about to be Insect Spring Break where I live, the notion that nature can have healing power is being bolstered by science.

A whole herd of deer we saw on a recent hike.

Adele Peters writes about a recent U.K. study that points to the health benefits in the usually-not-arboreally-themed Fast Company.

In fact, it’s not like you need to suddenly fine time to fit many a day hike into your schedule. Two hours per week collectively seems to have benefits.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take advantage of the remaining daylight to get out of my blogging cave.

Media Mashup as Discovery to Acquire WarnerMedia

I first learned of this over the weekend in an LA Times piece, but AT&T, who only a few years ago, bought Time Warner in a bid to become a new powerhouse entertainment ecosystem, is planning to sell its media goodies to Discovery Communications.

The resulting combination of scripted and unscripted shows, films, and assorted media could be peanut butter & chocolate or cookies & okra. I honestly don’t know and don’t particularly have a battlebot in this fight.

Photo via Getty Images/Bloomberg from Ars Technica article

But from both the LA Times above, a piece in Ars Technica, and one from the New York Times that the various Conventional Wisdom is abuzz amongst the factions that are wont to have Opinions and Conventional Wisdom: other media companies, telecoms, Wall Street — and the people who follow media companies, telecoms, and Wall Street.

Now, all of this is dependent on shareholders and regulators agreeing to the sale, but there’s sure to be ripples from this.

Jobs, Mental Health, and the Malasch Burnout Inventory

The CDC announcement last week that vaccinated people could go all maskless all sorts of places has led to the inevitable realization for many of us that, “Oh, yeah. I guess we might be back in an office this summer.”

But even before then, I’m sure many of us have been contemplating more about what we want out of a job — along with wondering what is up with Zoom today.

So I found this article by Katie Heaney for The Cut to be illuminating. In fact, it feels like it could be a much larger piece… or perhaps deserving of a few follow-ups. But I’ll just leave you with the fact that we have a way to measure burnout and this seems like it should be rather relevant to the spiritual disillusionment of humanity in the early part of the 21st century… and stuff.

It’s Time to Rank Muppets

Many of you, knowing my project management tendencies, know I make lists — and by this time, it’s quite clear I’m a fan of ranking, so how could I say no to a ranking of Muppets recently conducted by NPR?

Do I agree with all the rankings? Of course not. That doesn’t make the list any less wonderful.

Mind you, the article does reference the Chaos/Order Theory of Muppets first proposed by Dahlia Lithwick in a 2012 article for Slate. So you should read it first if you haven’t beforehand.

Not only is this theory potentially one of the best contributions by Gen X to modern philosophical thought, reading this article is integral to understanding how the Muppets were ranked. Because you, right now are either an Order Muppet or a Chaos Muppet. You will read the ranking from that point of view.

(I say this for the benefit of my fellow Order Muppets out there that would prefer to be Chaos Muppets and resent the heck out of the fact that we can only be zany in the narrowest of occasions).

So now I leave it to my Order Muppet patronus Kermit to say, “On with the show!”