Archive

Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Pickpocket Magic

January 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Readers of Ron’s View this past year may have noticed that I read an unusual number of books (for me). This came at a price. New Yorkers, New York Reviews of Books, Golf Worlds, and assorted other magazines piled up unread. I would download each issue of the New Yorker to my iPad when it became available on Sunday night and check what articles I would want to read when the print version arrived later in the week, then not read them.

Maybe this year will be different. Fewer books for sure. More magazine articles? I don’t know. But to get me started, I began reading a great article yesterday in the latest New Yorker, Adam Green’s piece on the pickpocket magician Apollo Robbins. It is freely available at the moment, not behind the New Yorker’s paywall. Check it out while you can.

Here’s the opening:

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.

“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

“F—. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

The New Yorker has also posted a video in their culture blog of Robbins talking to Green and demonstrating his pickpocketing approach, with brief text by Myles Kane. I can’t embed the video. Go to the post, here, and watch it. It’s just under seven minutes long and well worth the time. Embedded up top as a substitute is another video of Robbins, which I have yet to watch in full.

Advertisements
Categories: Journalism, Video

Pet Idea

October 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Okay, maybe not. But watch the video of Mit, the orphaned baby walrus now in residence at the New York Aquarium, and see if you’re not tempted to adopt him yourself.

For more information, read this story from the NYT ten days ago and today’s update (which links to the video above). From the update:

A team of 15 is caring for him around the clock. His favorite toy is a plastic bucket. He has taken swimmingly to a large pool. And on Friday, he had his first taste of solid food — surf clams.

[snip]

He was describing Mitik, or Mit for short, one of two walrus calves separated from a herd in the Artic Ocean and orphaned in Alaska in July. The Alaska SeaLife Center took them in and found new homes for each. (The other walrus, Pakak, went to the Indianapolis Zoo.) The New York Aquarium, eager for a young companion for its two older walruses, stepped up, flying a staff member, Martha Hiatt, to Alaska to work with Mit for a month.

[snip]

With his curious, playful personality and expressive eyes, it is tempting, aquarium officials say, to think of Mit as a big, slippery toddler. (The giant bottle of formula does not help.) He still needs — and receives — a lot of human contact. “He likes us to be physical, grab his flippers and roll him over,” Ms. Hiatt said. “And he still really loves to snuggle in close.”

But the veterinarian technicians and keepers caring for Mit are trying to dial that physicality back a bit, both for their safety and his own good. For one thing, he now weighs 242 pounds, a size that could start to pose risks for staff members. More important, Mit must begin to identify with his own species, in preparation for his eventual debut in the walrus exhibit.

“We want to make sure that we don’t give him so much contact that the day he actually meets his buddies he’s more interested in us than the other walruses,” Ms. Hiatt said. “He needs to know he’s a walrus.”

The NYT has a Kids Draw the News program in which parents are invited “to submit drawings their kids have created depicting events in the local news.” Kids were asked to read the initial walrus story and “illustrate any part of the story you wish.” A slide show of eleven drawings can be seen here. Below is six-year-old Roberto’s depiction of his family visiting Mit.

Categories: Animals, Video

London Olympics Videos

August 11, 2012 2 comments

The Olympics end tomorrow. Whenever possible over the last week, I’ve spent lunchtime watching the live internet feed of the track and field finals. With that done on any given day, I didn’t have much reason to tune to the NBC primetime production. I had no stomach for their endless teases and dragging out of events.

One unintended consequence of my viewing pattern has been that I’ve hardly seen any Olympic events other than track lately. What I know about them comes mostly from reading. Fortunately, some of the gaps in my viewing have been filled by excellent videos at the websites of The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal. If you have gaps too, I highly recommend their work.

The full list of Guardian videos can be found here. I was particularly pleased to see their coverage of the weightlifting final for the highest weight class. And, having missed so much of the rowing during week one, I was able to catch up on the men’s coxless four final, a thrilling matchup of Great Britain and Australia (above). Another highlight in their series is the men’s track 100 meter race:

The WSJ has their own compelling series of Homemade Highlights, including the women’s beach volleyball final:

One can never watch the transcendent Usain Bolt too often. Here is the WSJ’s coverage of his 200 meter victory.

Finally, moving outside the arenas, I can’t resist including the video from opening day that made Londoner Rachel Onasanwo an unexpected Olympics star.

Categories: Animation, Sports, Video

Matt’s Latest Dancing Video

July 15, 2012 Leave a comment

By December 2008, with Ron’s View still in its infancy, I had already figured out that my services as poster of the latest internet craze or meme were not needed. If I’d seen the cool video that was making the rounds, you probably had too. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist a post on Matt Harding’s then-half-year-old video. Now, three-and-a-half years later, I can’t resist again. If you’ve seen the video, just skip this post. If you haven’t, I urge you to.

Better yet, watch all four of his videos in order, so that you can enjoy his ever-expanding vision. For a self-described “deadbeat from Westport, Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play video games,” and who “was a mediocre student and never went to college,” he sure knows how to combine simplicity, visual impact, and emotional power. This last feature sneaks up and takes you by surprise, though maybe I’m now spoiling that surprise. Well, see if I’m wrong.

Here’s Matt’s 2005 video:

And the 2006 video:

And the 2008 video, the one that prompted my earlier post.

By this point in his career, he had commercial backing and improved video quality.

Finally, the 2012 video is at the top.

For more, visit Matt’s website. And read the interview David Pogue posted three days ago on his NYT blog.

But watch the videos first. They’re a treat. I’m restraining myself from saying more so that I don’t impose my inadequate thoughts on you before you watch.

Categories: Dance, Life, Travel, Video

Neighborhood Nutria

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s not often that my very own Seattle neighborhood of Madison Park is featured on the home page of the NYT. This is one of those moments, as attested to by the screenshot above.

Well, maybe you don’t see Madison Park. But you see the video titled, “Hi! I’m a Nutria.” That’s the one. (I can’t embed the video. Click here to watch it.) It’s by Drew Christie, whose website I’ve just visited, thereby learning:

I am an animator and an illustrator who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. I create stories through hand-made images. My work has been featured on The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Drawn, Cartoon Brew, Boooooooom! and Juxtapoz among other sites. I make short films, music videos, commercials, cartoons, books, zines and relief prints.

The video stars a nutria who lives down by Lake Washington’s Madison Park Beach. That’s our beach! The beach house is the meeting site for the Madison Park Community Council, over which Gail presides (and where I celebrated a major birthday a decade ago). I lived just north of the beach during my first 5 1/2 years in Seattle.

But the nutria isn’t there to tell you about my life in Madison Park. He has other issues on his mind, like why he’s considered an interloper. How many generations must his kind live here before they get to qualify as native?

Which oddly enough was one theme of a dinner conversation we had last night with other members of the Madison Park Community Council, one of whom decried the loss during his childhood of the orange groves in his native Claremont, California. I couldn’t refrain from asking just how long he thought those groves were around. They’re no more native to southern California than nutria are to the northwest, and probably haven’t been around much longer.

Here’s a partial answer, from the site of the California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside:

In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forever changed the history of Southern California when it sent two small navel orange trees to Riverside resident Eliza Tibbets. Those trees, growing in near perfect soil and weather conditions, produced an especially sweet and flavorful fruit. Word of this far superior orange quickly spread, and a great agricultural industry was born. An effort to promote citrus ranching in the state brought would-be citrus ranch barons flocking to California. The second “gold rush” was on.

This sounds like an interesting park. Here’s more:

This park preserves some of the rapidly vanishing cultural landscape of the citrus industry and to tell the story of this industry’s role in the history and development of California. The park recaptures the time when “Citrus was King” in California, recognizing the importance of the citrus industry in southern California.

In the early 1900s, an effort to promote citrus ranching in the state brought hundreds of would-be citrus barons to California for the “second Gold Rush.” The lush groves of oranges, lemons and grapefruit gave California another legacy – its lingering image as the Golden State – the land of sunshine and opportunity.

The design of the park is reminiscent of a 1900s city park, complete with an activity center, interpretive structure, amphitheater, picnic area, and demonstration groves. The land contained within the park still continues to produce high-quality fruits.

And check out the photo below.

But I’ve strayed. First listen to the nutria and learn what he’s doing in our neighborhood.

Categories: Animals, Environment, History, Video

This is What We Do

July 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The video above is the Chrysler ad from the Super Bowl half a year ago. I used it in a post at the time. The blog title is from the ad’s final line, in which Eminem points at the camera and says, “This is Motor City [pause] and this is what we do.”

Why the rerun? Because it’s such an astonishingly good ad, and because I was just reading about it in James B. Stewart’s Saturday business column in today’s NYT. Stewart’s theme is Chrysler’s turnaround under Fiat ownership since the federal bailout.

In what surely ranks as one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the annals of American business history, this week Chrysler reported adjusted net income of $181 million and a 30 percent rise in revenue, to $13.7 billion, even in a still-soft global car market. Its June sales jumped 30 percent from the previous year, its 15th consecutive month of increases. Its market share has grown to 10.6 percent, from under 6 percent. Chrysler repaid its outstanding government loans in May, six years ahead of schedule, and last week Fiat paid $500 million for the Treasury’s remaining 6 percent stake in the company. The American government has recouped $11.2 billion of its $12.5 billion investment in Chrysler, and would probably have made a profit had it held the debt to maturity. Meanwhile, Chrysler employs 56,000 people and has added 9,000 jobs since the bailout.

Not bad.

Stewart focuses in his column on the experiences of a Chrysler dealer in suburban Philadelphia, David Kelleher. This leads to a moving scene, the context being the decision to revamp the awful Chrysler Sebring, and to rename it the Chrysler 200.

[Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne made the bold but controversial decision, criticized by some Republicans in Congress, to spend $2 million for a commercial in January’s Super Bowl.

The day of the game, Mr. Kelleher was attending a dealer convention in St. Louis, where dealers were clamoring for a glimpse of the ad. Chrysler leadership finally agreed on condition of confidentiality. A few hours before kickoff, the dealers watched as a camera panned through the industrial ruins of Detroit to the ominous pulse of “Lose Yourself” by the rapper and native son, Eminem.

“What does this city know about luxury?” a narrator asked. “What does a town that’s been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well, I’ll tell you: More than most.” The images shifted to a statue of the boxer, Joe Louis, Diego Rivera’s lush Detroit Industry mural, mansions from Detroit’s heyday. “It’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel,” the narrator continued. “Add hard work and conviction and the know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That’s who we are. That’s our story.” Images flashed by celebrating Detroit and its people, with barely a glimpse of the new 200. Finally Eminem emerged from behind the wheel and walked into the beautifully renovated Fox Theater to the uplifting strains of a gospel choir onstage. At the end, letters appeared over the dark screen: “The Chrysler 200 has arrived. Imported from Detroit.”

“I was stunned,” Mr. Kelleher recalled. “I looked around. The room was silent. Some people were crying. Then the applause started and just rolled through the auditorium and kept on going. We felt a rebirth.” Mr. Kelleher immediately e-mailed his chief salesman. “Get on the computer right now and order 40 200s.”

Watch the ad yourself. See if you don’t cry too.

Categories: Automobiles, Video

Grocery Store Musical

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m such a sucker for the work of Improv Everywhere, about which I have blogged several times. Their latest mission, Grocery Store Musical, was unveiled yesterday. In the tradition of their classic Food Court Musical, the Improv Everywhere team created a mini-musical that was performed spontaneously at a grocery store in Queens. Watch both — last year’s food court musical and the new grocery store musical. And also go to the Improv Everywhere website to read the post about Grocery Store Musical. It contains background information, photos, and more about the shoppers’ reactions.

Categories: Food, Video