Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams, various interviews

1991, Letterman

1993, Letterman

1981, Carson

Conan, 2007

Letterman, 2013

Letterman, 2009

2011, Letterman

1991, Carson

2002, Michael Parkinson (Great Britain)

Ferguson, 2013?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fred deCordova

Carson's recovery is amazing here. Watch how he slides into that second joke using the offstage remarks as a foil. The audience basically applauds his ability to recover.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CNN Backhaul Feeds - more Varney

Changing of the background from night to morning

Guest:  Irwin Stelzer,  American Enterprise Institute

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CNN Backhaul Feeds ; Business Morning Stuart Varney 4/25/1991

Stuart Varney  He was really good at reading things on air. Nothing particularly startling here. It is just a bunch of backhauls which often contain long moments of nothing happening. Feel free to jump ahead or not watch at all. :)  I do have interesting backhaul feed moments. Be assured that I will point these out when I come across them. It is always interesting to look up guests. Marc Klee: "Mr. Marc Howard Klee is an Executive Vice President and Director at American Fund Advisors, Inc." 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tom Snyder 3/10/95 J. Z. Knight - Sparky Anderson - Rita Rudner

This is an example of the Late Late Show with Tom Snyder - This incarnation of Tom Snyder was produced by David Letterman who had much earlier displaced Snyder's ground breaking Tomorrow when Letterman began in late night following Johnny Carson, when Carson went to one hour. That is clear... right? :)  Tom Snyder had interesting guests and did thoughtful interviews. Regardless of what you think about his style... his shows were always a bit more centered on educational fare. This is why I watched "Tomorrow" when I could when i was a young man and why this was the main show I wanted to record when I first got a VCR and could shift his show to a more convenient time. This later version of his show was really just nostalgic to me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Julian Lennon and Cynthia on Good Morning America

I cannot find any postings of this on YouTube or elsewhere. This is unusual for the more important recordings I have. This is a very early interview with Julian and his mom by David Hartman. David asks all the obvious crap questions. It is at least interesting to see Julian and Cynthia react to the questions. They both appear very ill at ease in this early exposure to the media. I always thought this was the first American appearance of Julian. Please correct me if I am wrong. This is probably one of Julian's first experiences with being interviewed. It shows he is an unassuming young man. I do not know what year it is. I will research and edit when I have time. I was looking for an interview, because I have an extensive collection, that was most likely fairly rare or I had in better shape than what someone else had (that is unlikely)  to begin my second spat of video postings. Also, here I am using itself for the video rather than Vimeo. Wish me luck. 

David H. begins by saying "Very well, thank you," in response to "Hello David." :) 


Julian. I have always loved your work.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sense8: Is the sci-fi saga Netflix's next must-see series?

Sense8: Is the sci-fi saga Netflix's next must-see series?

By    Digital Spy

The brains behind The Matrix could be about to give science fiction a good, hard boot up the backside all over again.

15 years after their dystopian kung-fu-and-bullets flick became a cultural phenomenon - earning a total box office of $463m and blowing students' minds across the globe - The Wachowskis are turning their attention to Netflix.

Their latest project promises to do for the sci-fi saga what House of Cards did for the political thriller and what Orange Is the New Black did for the prison drama - but what exactly is Sense8?
First announced way back in October 2012Sense8 is a ten-part serialised drama that will see the Wachowskis teaming with J Michael Straczynski - the US TV geek hero who has worked on everything from Babylon 5 to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Six months later - in March 2013 - the project was sold to Netflix, but remained shrouded in mystery - described only as a "gripping tale of minds linked and souls hunted", Sense 8 was pitched as a drama about "the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us".

Another 15 months passed before more concrete details emerged - Straczynski revealed to Deadline last week that the series "follows eight characters around the world who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally.

"Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them."

Along with the plot outline came the unveiling of Sense 8's 14-member international cast - and if the thought of a collaboration between Straczynski and the Wachowskis didn't already have you fired up, this roster of star names and cult favorites would surely leave any geek salivating.

Brian J Smith - best known for his role as Lt. Matthew Scott in the much-missed Stargate Universe - will lead the regular cast, which also includes British stars Tuppence Middleton and Aml Ameen, the latter soon to be seen in sci-fi thriller The Maze Runner.

The supporting cast also includes Naveen Andrews - forever Lost's tragic hero Sayid Jarrah - and Freema Agyeman - Doctor Who's perennially underrated companion Martha Jones.

On producing duties are Georgeville Television - the independent TV studio that was, for the longest time, developing a remake of Brit cult classic Blake's 7 for US television.

But if you're concerned that Sense8's geek credibility might also render it a niche project, worry not - this is a hugely ambitious project and Netflix is backing it all the way, with 10 episodes shot in nine locations on four continents - Chicago, San Francisco, London, Iceland, Seoul, Mumbai, Berlin, Mexico City and Nairobi.

This isn't a one-and-out deal either - Netflix is reportedly negotiating long-term deals with the cast. "Our actor deals are being made for five seasons - five or six depending on the breaks," Straczynski confirmed to Zap2it in February. "So we imagined this over the long, long haul. The first season is the origin story for our characters and then we kind of go from there."

Sense8 was originally expected to debut in late 2014 - though a 2015 unveiling now seems more likely - and just as the freedom afforded by Netflix has drawn big names such as Kevin SpaceyDavid Fincher and Jodie Foster to the service, so Straczynski's frustrations with US broadcast networks likely drove him and his new partners to the online outlet.

"I keep waiting for a paradigm shift to happen that will let network and studio execs see that sci-fi is the same as any other genre in terms of how you approach it - logically, character-based, with challenging ideas and forward thinking - but I worry that it might never happen in my lifetime," the writer/producer said in April of last year.

The Wachowskis have already reinvented science fiction once - and now Straczynski, a genre stalwart, sounds hungry to do it again. Ambitious in scope and freed from the restrictions of broadcast television, Sense8 has the potential to be a ground-breaking piece of small-screen science fiction - now it just has to deliver on its considerable promise.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

How the Commercial Networks Miss the Mark, a hastily written rant

I recently changed the service that provides me with television channels. I switched from Dish to a new fiber optic service provided by our local city (Opelika, AL). The charge for the DVR was a bit high per month and at first I decided to see what it was like without a DVR or any means to record. I looked into going back to TiVo but unfortunately the type of transmission over fiber optics does not work with TiVo for some technical reasons.

I have not been without a means of recording and playback since the very first year that VCRs came out. I formed some opinions.

The first thing I noticed was that fiber optic HD is the bomb. We live in an area that makes it very difficult to get any over the air signals,  some of which are supposedly broadcasting with full HD quality. The only full quality I have seen is from Blu-Ray discs. I am not sure whether the HD provided by my local city throught fiber optics is full quality, but it is much much better than Dish.

Television commercials were not as annoying when they were popping out of the screen with beautiful reception. However the novelty wore off quickly. I decided to go ahead and pop for a DVR long before my experimentation was over.

We also watch Netflix, and up until the time Amazon raised their Amazon Prime price a whopping 20 dollars a year in one blow, we were watching that as well. Amazon added very little value to Netflix and while we enjoyed the free shipping, more and more items were non-prime from third parties and Amazon add-ons that had to be added to other orders. It became more complicated, and more expensive.

The most important opinion I have formed is that commercial networks, whether broadcast or cable, and the companies that package them are in danger of missing a key concept that could easily bury them. The growth of Netflix is huge from that moment when they were raising prices and got such bad press. Well, of course they got bad press. The networks and other corporate media have used their news departments for self help for a while. Disney advertises their offerings as news on the morning shows and recently NBC ran "news" segments on Universal Studio Theme Parks with no disclosure at all that they were hyping their own company.

Since the time when Netflix was so openly ridiculed they have steadily worked their way back, not due to major changes but on the strength of their business model alone.

If VCRs caused repercussions to commercial programming, which they did, DVRs have really decimated the landscape. The trend was the same when the music industry was hurt so badly by cassette tape recording in the beginning and then computers (digital, like DVRs) towards the end. Admittedly, the music industry depended on selling product so was more quickly done in.

Netflix, and what probably is worse in the long run, Internet piracy, has had to have a great effect on broadcast networks. When I was young, I had no idea that there would ever be a point that commercials could be shown during the show. Networks have constant logos, they have flying graphics across the bottom of the screen. It is constantly annoying and even with a DVR one is getting much less of an experience than watching the show on Netflix.

Netflix's only problem is in basically showing reruns. But oddly, I think this problem is also it's strength as long as it maintains a growth in subscriber levels. For a little while there, I thought Netflix might actually be encouraging the sharing of subscriptions. The real deal is, if you get used to Netflix, you can see easily where the networks fail.

The on demand model  and depth of the offerings is unparalleled. Netflix has built great suggestive software that learns what you like. Max, a character that talks to you, can help you pick out movies and television. When you find a television series you like you can see it from the beginning. You can research that series and find out whether it was canceled midseason by the endlessly fickle networks. This at least can soften the blow of dangling plot lines.

Here is what I have decided. I really don't want to start any network shows and have them fizzle before their time. The broadcast networks have a dismal record and producers cannot present the best overall story arch when they have no idea what the whims of the network will be. I don't want to watch a series up to a point, then wait for the next season. I want to be able to watch things over again, immediately.  I don't want to have to set up a DVR timer to get the shows I like to watch. I want no commercials displayed on the bottom of the screen and I don't really want a network logo. I don't want to see commercials that tell me what is going to happen in an episode. I don't want shows that begin 3 minutes after the hour and fool my DVR. I don't want sports or event programming to delay shows to fool my DVR. I don't want tornado warnings and weather alerts across the bottom of the screen on the shows I have recorded. I don't want the local affiliates to make a mistake and trip over a wire to cause a break in the program. I don't want gigantic show ratings to be superimposed at the beginning of the shows. It is endless, really. There just is no quality in the presentation of quality shows.

I can put it in one sentence: I want my TV shows to be perfect, like they are on Netflix. Can anything say more damning about the networks' strategy than this?

I do want the networks to continue pouring money into programming to broaden my choices. I want them to think that their commercials are being watched. I want this because I will want to watch the product later when Netflix grabs them and shows them in a way I like. That is all I want from networks at this point.

The problem that occurred in the music industry was that people with the equipment and the smarts to record music disappeared from the audience base. The audience left behind was less sophisticated. It skewed younger and older, but it also skewed to providing less quality music because the market for quality was cheating.

The huge problem with networks is not only that their advertising model is shot to hell because of people skipping commercials, it is the abysmal way the networks present their shows, and cancel their shows of quality.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Marion Stokes passed away in 2012, she left behind a family and personal legacy. She also left 40,000 VHS and Betamax tapes in her Philadelphia home, filled with local and national news shows she’d dutifully recorded for three decades.
Last fall, her son, Michael Metelits, reached out to the Internet Archive, a San Francisco–based nonprofit focused on cataloging archived websites and digitizing cultural artifacts like TV shows, books, video, and live concerts.
Between 1976 and 2012, Stokes taped shows she thought might be important one day. Metelits says there were two triggers for her to start: The Iran hostage crisis of 1979, and CNN launching as a 24-hour news source. She wanted to catch news as it evolved. 
The Internet Archive took on her massive collection, and earlier this week, the first digitizations from the project were uploaded to the site for free download. It’s a talk show called Input, which Stokes coproduced with her husband, John Stokes Jr. The program aired Sunday mornings in Philadelphia between 1968 and 1971.
Metelits has been in San Francisco this past week, visiting the Archive and sitting in on the process. He says that many of clips he was shown he remembers from childhood. Stokes would often appear on Input as well, and seeing his mother as she was then was an emotional experience.
“In one of the clips, she kind of walked on with a microphone to insert something she thought was being missed,” he says. “She was a big personality, very charismatic, very forceful, very sure of her own capacity to contribute intellectually to any conversation. She was alarmingly intelligent. She had an eye for detail and an eye for the big picture.”
Trevor von Stein, one of the Internet Archive’s many volunteers, started at the non-profit at the beginning of February, and two weeks later, was given a stack of tapes to digitize. He says it took about four to six weeks, part time, to finish the initial project, which involved Input.
                                          Image via Trevor von Stein 
“I was not initially listening to the episodes, or carefully following the discussion or who appeared,” von Stein says. “But Roger Macdonald, the director of the televisions programs at Internet Archive, suggested I examine who some of these people were. We were all curious. I started checking, and the more I did, the more I thought it was worth thorough examination. The research was also partially a matter of verifying that I had transcribed the name correctly as well, to ensure accurate reference data. I wanted this material not only to survive, but to be findable on the Web.”
And the content of Input is astounding. Stokes was an activist, and the show functioned as a roundtable to discuss political and social issues of the day. Beyond making this content Internet-ready, von Stein says he got a bit of a history lesson. He describes some of the highlights:
“I found some unseen footage of people who were deeply involved in history. From John E. Fryer, who later went on to be Dr. Anonymous at the APA convention, or William C. Davidon, who only this year was revealed posthumously to be the ringleader of the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. Peter Countryman organized the Northern Students Movement. Maggie Kuhn was the founder of the Gray Panthers. Ron Dorfman just passed last month; he and his partner were the first gay couple married in Illinois in December. Almanina Barbour was the fourth female attorney in Pennsylvania and is still practicing law. James L. Brown, Jr. redeveloped and helped restore the Parkside neighborhood in Philadelphia. Marjorie and Tom Melville were members of the Catonsville Nine, who stormed a draft office and burnt draft cards with homemade napalm, awaiting arrest, as a peace protest.
“Pete Seeger appeared on a program, titled 'We, the Jailers,' with recently released ex-cons on parole and the last warden of Eastern State Penitentiary, a psychiatrist who was very influential in the reform of prisons. Seeger plays a song, the performance hadn’t been seen in 43 years. Tony Avirgan was a social activist, now a journalist; he survived a bombing by the CIA reporting from South America during the Sandinista/Contra war. Janis Ian is on the show several years before her Grammy award-winning album. Civil Rights-era priests that desegregated their congregation, or hosted the ordination of the first female priests in the Episcopalian church, well before that was allowed.”
That Input was so groundbreaking, and that no one has really heard of it, speaks to what the Internet Archive is trying to achieve as compilers of useful, historical info. Coincidentally, Metelits says his mother never used the Internet, and was very conscious of surveillance online.
“She eventually adopted the mobile phone, but she never sent an email.”
Stokes’s eye for detail, and for the bigger picture, may sound like an obsessive hobby to some. But she did have a vision for her archive, and Metelits hopes it can impart some wisdom to the Internet generation.
“One of the really important things about the way the Internet Archive is cataloging this is it’s going to enable people who maybe have a narrow view of events to get a sense of the historical sweep,” he says. “This isn’t the first time Afghanistan's been a problem, this isn’t the first time a particular politician has been in the news. This is going to provide a sense of the rhythm of news stories, for people searching for a particular politician. My hope is that it deepens public perception of not only how news was made, but the actual politics underlying the news, to help people have a more informed, intelligent engagement with politics.
“That was my mother’s dream for it.”
Screengrab via the Internet Archive