Watch This: Thoughts from Places

Back in August of 2010, John Green recorded a video of his time in London and Edinburgh, doing readings, going to Nerdfighter gatherings, and generally traveling. It wasn’t a travelogue, per se – it was more a reflection on that travel; it was retrospective, rather than in the moment. And – as the key difference between it and other Vlogbrothers videos – it was presented in voiceover.

This became the basis of what the Greens called “Thoughts from Places” – a series of 100 videos (18 of which have already been done), a series to, paraphrasing John Green, bring more writing to YouTube and more YouTube to writing. It led not only to probably my favorite series-within-a-series the Vlogbrothers have done, but a style of video that has been imitated (or mocked) throughout YouTube.

Most of my favorites are from John’s European travels – starting with London and Edinburgh and continuing forth with my personal favorite, in Amsterdam, a video that combines the humorous with the thoughtful in a downright brilliant way; and in Bruges, during John’s stay in Amsterdam researching for and writing The Fault in Our Stars, his upcoming novel:

Continue reading


This Week’s Musings

We’re back with another week of posts. It’s a podcast week – 5 questions on Nintendo – and here are the textual things I’ve got cooked up:

  • Music Monday: I talk about Bon Iver briefly.
  • Wednesday Top 5: In honor of the upcoming Vendy Awards, my five favorite New York City food trucks.
  • Thursday Trivia: Again departing from the five-facts format, I present a brief history of TV musical shows.
  • No Friday post this week, but do expect a recap of the aforementioned Vendy Awards via the YouTube channel sometime this weekend.
And we’re talking about serious business on AccioNerds, getting nostalgic on TMV, and doing whatever I usually do on Twitter and Tumblr (meaning, not much).
See you in a bit for Music Monday, but first, here are a couple of videos I wanted to present on Friday but didn’t. The first is Hank Green’s song about quarks, “Strange Charm” (also the video that initiated me into Nerdfighteria), and the second is the downright awesome “mathemusician” Vi Hart talking about the science of sound (it runs a little long at almost 13 minutes, but it’s well worth it):

Watch This: Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan’s certainly not the laziest funny person in the world – he’s produced seven comedy albums and has been in a bunch of films and television shows (including a recurring role on the TBS series My Boys – does anyone watch My Boys?) – but he’s probably the funniest lazy person in the world. In his last two albums, Beyond the Pale and King Baby, he spoke at length on two topics: laziness and food. He truly is the king of idling and possibly a crowned head of some kind of gluttony. Here he is teaching basically the master class in laziness:

His jokes on food are fantastic, largely ’cause they come mostly from love instead of hate, it seems. For example, his thoughts on bacon:

He’s probably best known for his evisceration of Hot Pockets, which needs no introduction:

Continue reading

Watch This: “History Will Be Made”

(UPDATE: I wrote this yesterday, and then this happened. Perhaps these ads are some sort of premonition.)

For the past two years, the NHL has been branding television coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (easily both one of the longest championship series in American sports and one of the most fun) with the tagline “History Will Be Made.” They’ve produced some fantastic commercials under this umbrella, each with a line of “History [does something]…History Will Be Made,” including what can only be described as real-time creations of advertisements (basically one big moment from each day of games – last night’s was Brian Boucher coming up big in goal for the Flyers, which you can see below). I guess you can say that “History Can Be Made at Any Moment.” (Sorry, these things write themselves.) Here are a few of my favorites:

As promised here’s the one from last night’s Flyers-Sabres game, as “History Answers the Call.”

Yesterday’s featured Brandon Dubinsky’s game-winner against the Caps – “History Finds A Way.”

I, for one, love the fan-made one as well from Sunday’s game – “History Can Be Ugly.”

Another great fan-made video, featuring the 2003 Ducks’ championship run:

Continue reading

Updated: Watch This: What the…

Last night on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, during the cold open mini-monologue, Craig presented a French television show that was interestingly, and uncannily, similar.

Holy crap! Craig is right in saying, “What the [expletive]?!” Why in the world is a French show (specifically, Ce Soir avec Arthur, “This Evening with Arthur”) cloning Craig’s style and title sequence anyhow? The Craig-watching American public (and Arthur-watching French public) ought to know these things.

By the way, here’s Arthur’s full intro:


Arthur was on Craig’s show last night! I’ll be honest, I think Arthur won by decision.

Watch This: Inside a New Balance Factory

New Balance Factory, Flimby, Cumbria, England,...

A factory worker in one of the English New Balance factories. New Balance strongly supports American (and English) workers by keeping their factories here and there. Image by Flickr user Dr John2005.

 An extra bit from the Thursday Trivia (on Friday!) yesterday:

One of the great things about New Balance – and why I wear them – is because it’s the only athletic shoe manufacturer still making shoes in the US. I’d rather pay a bit extra to ensure that Americans are still at work in blue-collar jobs than concede to cheap labor in China. (And Nikes have never fit my feet anyway.)

So I was looking around the New Balance website, and they have a wonderful section about their American factories, including a great quick video showing the birth of a New Balance sneaker. Embedding isn’t working, so I’ll just let you visit the page to tour a factory here.

Watch This: Christy Mihos for Gov. of Mass.

In celebration of YouTube’s Fifth Year of Existence, one of my favorites. In 2006, the “Big Dig” project was over budget, past the deadline, and even when completed had more than a few hiccups. Christy Mihos, an entrepreneur from Brockton, was trying to get greater accountability for the project. In the greatest political ad ever – a cartoon, for goodness sake! – Mihos tried to understand why things were the way they were.

Read: Kristina Rodulfo, (Hopefully) Future “Glee” Star

I want to give a shout-out to my compatriot, Kristina Rodulfo, who has gotten a chance to audition for Glee. Now, I don’t know a damn thing about Glee other than the fact that they’re pseudo-teenagers who sing (oh, and Jane Lynch of Role Models fame…

…but I digress), but while I don’t know a damn thing about Glee, I want to help out a friend. You can give a gold star to Kristina here.

Watch This: For the Peabody Award Winner!

On occasion, I go take a look at the Twitter page of Craig Ferguson, for the laughs and the musings of the leader of the Robot Skeleton Army.

And then I read this. Confirmed by this. Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award, and I say, hell freakin’ yeah. This award shows how Craig can be not just funny, but poignant; not just crass, but cerebral; and not just silly, but serious.

Here’s the episode, An Evening With Archbishop Desmond Tutu, preserved for posterity, on YouTube.

Continue reading