A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about. Ask me anything you can't Google.

Posts tagged "television"

Sep 30, 2014

Going Deep with David Rees

I suggest actually watching this series backwards — the last episode of the first season, “Shaking Hands,” is the best, there’s a [SPOILER ALERT] scene where some researchers attach strings to the muscles in a cadaver’s arm to show you how a handshake works. Really gross and totally amazing.

Here’s a nice interview with Rees about the show, which really started with his book, How To Sharpen Pencils:

My hope was always that people would realize how interesting pencils are. A pencil represents 500 years of engineering and experimentation and materials research and stuff, and by extension how interesting the whole world is if you just decide to take a minute and get out a magnifying glass and just really study the shit out of shoelaces. To us, shoelaces are incredible. That was the total mission of the show. We live in this society that really values spectacle and the latest gizmos and gadgets. Part of the spirit of our show is that anything can be interesting. It’s just a matter of perspective and how obsessed with it you get.

Emphasis mine. You can watch the whole season on Hulu.

Filed under: my watching year 2014

(Source: youtube.com)



My wife and I finished season one last night. It’s really, really good — as good as everybody says it is.

It’s exciting to think about what a weird show this is, compared to the rest of TV: you’ve got the transgendered and gay characters at the forefront, sure, but it’s also a super-Jewish show (“the most Jewish show I’ve seen on TV”). Of course, just like a lot of other TV, it’s amazing that none of these people really seem to work (SPOILER: Josh, the only character with a job-job as an A&R man at a record company, gets fired).

But I really enjoyed it, and, maybe best of all: the music really kicks ass.


Filed under: my watching year 2014

(Source: youtube.com)

Aug 04, 2014

Life imitates Seinfeld

In this week’s New Yorker, Ben McGrath writes about swimming in the East River:

Four years ago, three guys had an idea: that it might be nice to swim in the East River. “It came about pretty simply,” one of them, Dong-Ping Wong, recalled recently, on one of those humid, ambition-melting summer mornings. “Just sitting and sweating near the river, and realizing, after years of living here, that it’d be sort of amazing if you could jump in, and kind of ridiculous that you couldn’t.”

Of course, seventeen years ago, another New Yorker had the same idea. His name was Cosmo Kramer.

From Seinfeld, S08E18, “The Nap”:

KRAMER: Well my swimming pool problems are solved. I just found myself miles and miles of open lanes.

JERRY: What is that smell?

KRAMER: That’s East River.

JERRY: You’re swimming in the East River? The most heavily trafficked overly contaminated waterway on the eastern seaboard?

KRAMER: Technically Norfolk has more gross tonnage.

I tweeted the clip to McGrath and he said he’d never seen it! So I think two things could be going on here: either those dudes were watching TBS at dinnertime, or Kramer was a real visionary.

Filed under: Life imitates art

Aug 03, 2014

How do you sleep at night?

Mad Men, S01E06 [video]

Roy: “So, what do you do, Don?”
Don Draper: “I blow up bridges.”
Midge: “Don’s in advertising.”
Roy: “No way! Madison Avenue? What a gas!”
Midge: “We all have to serve somebody.”
Roy: “Perpetuating the lie. How do you sleep at night?”
Don: “On a bed made of money.”

Simpsons, S06E18 [video]

Jay Sherman: How do you sleep at night?
Rainer Wolfcastle: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
Jay Sherman: Just asking.

Feb 04, 2014



Jerry Seinfeld Wanted A Show That He Could “Put In Your Pocket”

Seinfeld is so enjoyable

Seinfeld is one of the very rare people who knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s jobsian.

Filed under: Seinfeld

Jan 03, 2014

My TV year, 2013

Unlike movies, I watched a ton of TV this year, because 1) there’s a ridiculously great amount of decent TV shows running right now, and 2) 30-45 minutes is the perfect amount of turn-off-the-brain time for new parents. Here are 10 shows I liked:


Episode to episode, this is the best show on TV. All four seasons are good, but this last season was great. Not sure how next season will go without exec producer Elmore Leonard, but as long as Boyd Crowder’s on the show, I’ll be watching.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

I still watch Seinfeld reruns when they’re on, so I don’t know how the hell I went so long without watching this. Leon!

Bob’s Burgers

Tina Belcher is my spirit animal.

Breaking Bad

I liked the ending because I always saw it as a kind of Western. Plus, 5th season Walt is kind of my fashion icon.

Yo Gabba Gabba

I watched a lot of Yo Gabba this year. And you know what? It’s actually pretty great. The songs are super catchy (my wife and I like to pump “I Love Bugs” in the car) and whenever Mark Mothersbaugh draws it cracks me up, because he’s basically the worst drawer ever.

The Americans

This fell off a little towards the end of the season, but I’m still hooked. Great 80s soundtrack, too, starting with the use of “Tusk” in the pilot.

The Returned

This show is creeeepy. And beautiful. And French. Oh, so French.

Top of the Lake

It’s like Peggy Olson wandered onto the set of a David Lynch movie set in New Zealand.

The IT Crowd

Silly. British. Quotable.


This show is so terrible. And yet, I watch it every week it airs.

Other shows deserving of an honorable mention: Orange is the New Black, Terriers, Portlandia, and House of Cards.

Sep 16, 2013

Director @rianjohnson posts behind-the-scenes photos from last night’s Breaking Bad

Filed under: show your work

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias”

  The central theme of “Ozymandias” is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time.

Filed under: poetry, Breaking Bad

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias

The central theme of “Ozymandias” is the inevitable decline of all leaders, and of the empires they build, however mighty in their own time.

Filed under: poetry, Breaking Bad

Jun 12, 2013


“french horn?” this is the best thing in the world today. after maybe the sun. 


I made this supercut of David Letterman asking drummers if their drums are rented. That guy is the greatest.

(Original post from CBC Music)

“Are those yours or rentals?”

May 07, 2013
I like to think I’m a Rizzo, but I’m probably a Ginsberg.

I like to think I’m a Rizzo, but I’m probably a Ginsberg.

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