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Online discourse

I am being charitable in the term discourse. Recently I added a comment to a Youtube file, the audio of fire department radio transmissions following a spectacular gas explosion. I was critical of the commander’s conduct on the air, something I think I can do based on both my professional background and the fact that I am a tax payer in Seattle. I was quickly flamed by anonymous posters who not only disagreed that the commander’s conduct was inadequate, but castigated me for

My First Podcast

I was honored to be interviewed on the Writers Groupie podcast. I moved my desk around so that my bookcase was in the background and I raised my desk to the standing position. #writing #history #podcasts #Publishing #novels #criticism #video #books #fiction

True Detective

This HBO series started last year starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConnaughey as a couple of detectives in bayou country investigating serial killings despite their own psychoses. Season 2 is set in southern California in the corrupt industrial enclave mirroring City of Industry. Three cops from different agencies with huge amounts of personal baggage are assigned to a grisly murder linked to a major corruption case and some multi-billion dollar transit scam. The cops a

Game of Thrones Oh My

I saw the first episode of the first season of Game of Thrones As of this writing I have finished Episode 8 of Season 2. Or is it Episode 7? At this point it doesn’t matter. I am in the middle of a raging river being carried downstream. Take your pick, excellent writing, incredibly imaginative plotting, compelling characters, stunning settings and sets (Ireland, Malta, Morocco, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia) and amazing costuming. The un-costuming is great too. Are there no over

Rokuuuuu!

I looked back and realized that I did not finish my adventure with my new Roku box. To replay, I ordered a Roku 3 to replace the Roku so I could get more channels particularly PBS. I can get all the programming that is not carried on my local station (which I still support). I also discovered that there are many more channels available than are offered in the online Roku menu, not all free, but lots more stuff. For example, Al Jazeera is available if you have the right code.

I don’t know, Roku?

I often consider what normal features of daily life would be incomprehensible 20 or even 10 years ago – smart phones, tablets, online shopping, etc. DVD players were the coming thing 10 years ago and now are on their way to the electronics recycling center. One thing we now can no longer do without is streaming TV. I have Roku, the little set top box that allows online access to venerable Netflix and behemoth Amazon. (Be nice, they are watching.) It allows streaming of dozens

My video

In 1963, I heard a single by the surf rock band, the Marketts, called “Out of Limits”. I like the fast paced, heavy bass of the music and somehow visualized jets taking off from an aircraft carrier. Most of my visualizations at the time involved airplanes. Surf rock fell out of vogue in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but every once in a while the tune would come up on a radio and once again I saw the Navy jets being catapulted off a flight deck. Then with the advent of digital downlo

Home Movies

I just completed a couple of desktop home movie projects, another genre of the technology revolution. I was a participant in the growth of amateur movies starting with silent Super 8, graduating to sound, then to video tape, then to digital. Now I’ve done home movies, really good quality, on my phone. How great is that? Thomas Edison gave us the motion picture, but it was a commercial and industrial mystery with little being done by the amateur. Camera equipment was expensive

Captain – Not

More silliness. Although I will grant the U.S. Navy absolute discretion in who they appoint as captains of their warships I wonder if the recent relief of Captain Owen Honors as captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise is either wise as a principle of military leadership or a proper use of taxpayer dollars. Four years ago Honors was the Executive Officer (XO) of the Enterprise and while on deployment made a series of videos to bolster crew morale. Deployments on carriers last six mon

Another video lynching

In the aftermath of the tragic death of Oscar Grant at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman on New Year’s 2009, Officer MarySol Domenici was suspended, then fired for her role during a chaotic situation on a train platform. She was accused of lying to investigators about her actions that night. She appealed her termination and an arbitrator held that the law firm hired by the BART Police to investigate the entire incident presented conclusions that were flawed. Onl

On the air

Hot on the heels of the radio interview I appeared on KCTS Channel 9, our local PBS station. They are having a pledge drive and aired the documentary I did about Snoqualmie Falls. During the pledge breaks, as green-tee-shirted staff from Parks and Rec manned the phones, the host asked me quick questions about the story. Turn me on about history and I just keep on going. I didn’t cause the show to go over too much. #writing #history #television #video #media

Video Lynchings

The recent kerfuffle over the dismissal of a civil servant who was framed by a doctored video underscores something I’ve believed for a long time: you can’t always trust the camera lens for the whole picture. In this last case someone boogered with the tape intending to embarrass the NAACP and ended up embarrassing the Obama White House. Here in Seattle we are in the middle of a couple of controversies over video taped police actions. Ever since the Rodney King thing salaciou

What are you going to wear?

Steve Sadis, the producer and my co-writer for The Power of Snoqualmie Falls informs me that the video has been nominated for an Emmy. The awards are June 5, 2010 at the Snoqualmie Casino. 6/7/2010 Alas, the Academy found Morocco to be more compelling than Snoqualmie Falls. But being nominated isn’t so bad. Like they say on the north side of Chicago, wait til next year. #history #television #movies #criticism #video #media

History on Television

I will rant a bit on history as it appears on cable. I say cable since the broadcast stations don’t feature much in the way of documentary material except PBS. Now that I have been writing history somewhat professionally for about ten years I think I’m in a position to comment on this genre. There is some good, lots of mediocre and some poor content. The viewer has to remember that programs are generated by producers who seek to generate a profit from selling something, anyth

The Little Screen

I have just seen the finished DVD of The Power of Snoqualmie Falls, an hour-long documentary for which I did the research and wrote the starting script. It’s beautiful! Puget Sound Energy, the underwriter, will release it this spring. Stay tooned. As I say, I wrote the starting script and I located many of the historical photos. From that, Director Stephen Sadis adapted it to his needs and wove into the story the narration of local historians, two of whom I recruited to the p