One of the several, very-nice people in that group I attend the annual IFA tech trade show in Berlin with is a fellow named Todd Haselton. Todd is a major expert in mobile technology, but just an all-around knowledgeable tech guy, period. (And stealthy -- I wrote him a couple months back that I was sorry he didn't make it to last year's show in September, but I hoped to see him this year. He wrote back to say that, in fact, he was there! But for five days, even though we were staying at the same hotel, I didn't have a clue -- he went in, out and around on his own, completely under the wire, didn't go to the showgrounds on the group shuttle bus, or take part in the group press events and press dinners. He had his Todd Itinerary and got around Berlin mysteriously on his own. I told him that if he ever decided to get out of tech and into the CIA, we would all be a safer nation for it. Though less-informed about technology.)
One year at the show, I had a big problem with my mobile phone. I didn't know what to do -- there I was, in the middle of Berlin, and my text messaging wasn't working. Then I realized...hey, I'm at a major worldwide technology show and, look, right over there is Ed Bott, a leading tech columnist on ZDNet who has written 25 books with Microsoft Press on how to use Microsoft products (including, last year, the official Microsoft book on how to use Windows 10) and, wait!, right there is Todd Haselton who is one of the country's experts on mobile phones. Let me tell you: if you're ever going to have a problem with your mobile phone...those are the conditions you want it to happen in!
Todd recently started a new job writing about technology for CNBC as their Technology Products Editor -- at the moment on their website, though who knows if he'll make it on the air. You can read his articles here. His pieces are high-tech, but very accessible -- this is CNBC, after all, not Advanced Mobile Technology Systems Today.
In fact, even better (especially for those who don't like to read, except perhaps this site), here is a video Todd did for CNBC this week about four top tablet alternatives to the iPad. It's informative, breezy and, as a bonus, you get to see that he is, indeed, a very personable guy.
This is another song from the Julie on Sesame Street special I've posted selections from. This was a show done in 1973 with Julie Andrews and the Muppets. The number here, "I Feel Pretty" is Julie-less, Muppets only. And though the special was referenced to Sesame Street, this song is really far more of a throwback, in the style of the great, albeit truly maniacal pre-Sesame Muppets, the kind of things with monsters that they tended to do on the Ed Sullivan Show, at least in sensibility. The production style, though is more in the vein of the later The Muppet Show..
The other day, I mentioned having seen -- and liking very much -- the movie, St. Vincent. I tracked down a trailer which actually does a respectable job giving a sense of the movie. It leaves out some important subplot and character things (and the movie is as much a drama as it is a comedy), but overall they handle it well, which is a tricky thing to do with a movie like this.
Since I won't be posting anything in the morning, as I head out early to the airport, I just wanted to embed something very entertaining to fill in the time.
This is a a clip from a British charity event with some Monty Python people, Rowan Atkinson and other British comedians. It's late, and I'm packing, so that will have to suffice. Happily, Monty Python and Rowan Atkinson and pretty much anybody suffices...
Pete Seeger died today at the age of 94. I'm not going to go into a long biography of the legendary folksingers accomplishments. There will be plenty of those in the coming days. I'll just say that I happily got the chance to see him in concert at UCLA, performing with Arlo Guthrie, and it was a total joy. What I most remember is that not only did he insist on getting the audience singing on almost every song, but that you got the sense something would be missing if you weren't singing along. There are a handful of people I'm glad to say I saw perform live, and Pete Seeger is on that list.
I'll also say if you want to celebrate Pete Seeger, or learn more about him, watch the documentary Wasn't That a Time, an utterly joyful, life-affirming film about a reunion of The Weavers in the 1980s. Or track down the American Masters production that PBS did a few years ago.
Other than that, I'll just post a video of Pete Seeger singing one of his renowned songs. That explains most of it anyway. So, here he is singing with his grandson, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. (And if you look closely, on the left with long hair and playing guitar, that's Arlo Guthrie.) And getting the audience to sing along.
Mark Evanier had this video on his website earlier, and I just had to bring it over to these here parts. It's now officially entered the pantheon of My Favorite Animal Videos of All Time.
This is the epic battle of Mouse vs. Cracker.
A while back, I posted this series of videos here when Bonnie Raitt and her Broadway legend father John Raitt appeared as surprise guests on The David Letterman Show in a running bit when they'd pop out together to sing Broadway songs.
It was a fun, quick comedy gag. But here they do it right, in a music video singing a ballad from Annie Get Your Gun, that John Raitt famously appeared in (though not in the original Broadway production.) It's no small touch that the name of the song is, "They Say It's Wonderful."
Whenever I watch TED lectures, I'm always deeply impressed by how thoughtful and entertaining they are. This one is only the final nine minutes, so it largely centers on the entertaining part. Though there's enough of the thoughtfulness in the opening few minutes.
The whole thing was a talk on human behavior by master pickpocket Apollo Robbins. But this is largely the pickpocket part.
Richard Wiseman posts a variety of videos under the Quirkology brand. Though ostensibly they're magic tricks, often they're more appropriately optical illusions. As such, he generally shows how they're done. And he does all this in a charming, whimsical way making his little excursions treats.
Though he has performed as a magician, he has a very different day job. He's a psychologist. In fact, he's a professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He's written numerous books on the subject, including The Luck Factor and Quirkology.
This is a little different from most, which focus on one trick only. This is a series of little folderol, which he called "10 new bets that you will always win," particularly appropriate the next time you're in a bar.
This is sort of a strange one. ("Sort of," in this case will be defined as -- utterly, totally 100%.) It comes courtesy of Ron Lux, though I have to take some responsibility for posting it here.
This is the legendary R&B group The Temptations performing a long, 9-minute medley of songs from...Fiddler on the Roof.
Yes, you read that right.
I'm not completely sure what this is from. The best I can determine is that it's a TV special called G.I.T. on Broadway. Mind you, I have no idea what that is, but it's a start. And it's from 1969. It exudes 1969. It's even introduced by Diana Ross.
The video quality is poor. The performance is worth it.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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