Dark Side of the Rainbow

To start, you turn on the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, turn the volume down, and wait for the the MGM lion to roar (some say you wait for the third roar). At that point, you fire up Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album and keep the audio on. From there, you sit back and watch as the music from that album plays in snyc with the scenes from “Oz”. It is uncanny. Like many things that combine marijuana, Pink Floyd and some unrelated movie or album, it started as an urban legend back in the 1990s – watch “Oz” while listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” and smokin’ a doobie – but really seemed to take hold in the late 1990s when an article authored by a then 19 year old Charlie Savage started to make the rounds on this new thing called ‘The Internet’.

Like other band members have done consistently over the years, Waters denied that Pink Floyd intentionally structured its 1973 album to align with the 1939 film. (As Alan Parsons, the recording engineer who helped create “The Dark Side of the Moon,” pointed out in a 2020 interview, “We didn’t have VCRs back then.”) Waters described it as more of a “cosmic coincidence.” Then he launched into a story he had heard about a cop in Louisiana who, out on patrol one night, pulled over a tour bus for weaving. Penetrating its smoky interior, he discovered none other than Willie Nelson in the back, listening to “Dark Side” while watching “Oz.”

“I don’t believe it for a minute,” Waters said, “but I like the story.”

“Yeah, I don’t even want to investigate that — I want it to be true,” Rogan replied. (Journalistic principle compelled me to email Nelson’s publicist, who wrote back four minutes later to say, “It doesn’t sound true.”)

Rogan went on: “I’ve watched ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ listening to ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ while high on marijuana. And if it’s not on purpose, it is a cosmic coincidence because it’s kind of amazing. It’s kind of amazing how it just flows.”

I happened to stumble across a reference to this exchange online, but there was little chance it would escape my attention for long. That’s because I have a strange connection to the phenomenon: Nearly three decades ago, I wrote the first article about it when I was a summer intern at The Journal Gazette in my hometown, Fort Wayne, Ind. In recent months, as various music magazines and websites have been putting together packages about “The Dark Side of the Moon” in honor of its 50th anniversary, I have received a surge in interview requests about this article I wrote when I was 19, which has become an absurd footnote to my career as a national-security and legal journalist.

The link has been a recurring intrusion into my thoughts for years. Alerts I set up to deliver email to my inbox when someone writes about one of my New York Times articles also bring word of new references to that old Journal Gazette piece. And if those fail, friends and family text or email me whenever they see it mentioned in the wild. Every year or so, another co-worker stopping by my desk or a government source I’m meeting for a drink brings it up with a chuckle. At some point, somebody stuck the fact into a brief Wikipedia entry about me, and since then whenever I give a talk about something like surveillance or drone strikes or presidential power, people introducing me have often mentioned it — much to the audience’s amusement.

I didn’t come up with the idea of pairing these two works. I’m not the inventor of “The Dark Side of the Rainbow.” But in a strange sort of accident, I played a key early role in its becoming a cultural phenomenon. Before my article, “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” was just a word-of-mouth thing on an early internet message board. Hardly anyone knew about it, and those who did had no idea who came up with the idea or where it started.

Charlie Savage, The NY Times

There are many urban legends like this out there related to Pink Floyd, The Beatles and other bands. While none of these ‘collaborations’ appear to be intentional, it is yet another example of how creative people can get when they have some time, some music, some movies and a doobie.

Brady Bunch House Hits The Market

Several years ago, when out in Los Angeles, we took a ride over to see the original Brady Bunch house. From the outside, it ‘felt’ surprisingly small and if you did not know the significance of the structure, you would probably miss it in it’s non-descript neighborhood nestled nearby one of the many freeways out in LA. Back in 2019, the fine folks at HGTV purchased the house and renovated it to all its Brady glory, down to the olive green fridge and the orange Formica in the kitchen. And today, you can purchase the house for a cool $5.5 Mil.

The five-bed, five-bath spread still largely resembles the home fans remember. For instance, the living room is a near replica of the original set. HGTV faithfully recreated the famous floating staircase and green floral sofa. Plus, they even 3-D printed a horse statue that viewers saw positioned atop a credenza.

Yahoo News

The actual real estate listing for the house is here.

Escape The Room – Virtual Hogwarts Edition

“Escape the Room” games have been all the rage recently, especially in corporate circles looking for fun team building exercises. Now with the whole COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changing things, one has to wonder how the ‘escape’ trend will fair in the ‘pandemic world order’.

A librarian in Pennsylvania took matters into his own hands, using of all things Google Docs, to create a virtual Harry Potter ‘Escape the Room: Hogwarts Edition’. No confirmation if they got an approval from JK Rowling herself. :P

I went through some of the game and found it fun and entertaining. Will need to give it my full attention to see how it works through to the end. This also makes me think I may need to fire up the Harry Potter movies and/or books sometime soon as this is making me realize how much I miss the Wizarding World!

Detail of The Madalorian’s Ship

Really awesome set of detailed drawings breaking down The Mandalorian’s Razor Crest space ship. Kotaku has reposted several of the drawings however the originals are from Max Degtyarev over on Behance.

With all the social distancing and stay at home orders happening, I have been meaning to fire up The Mandalorian and re-watch it again. May actually do that tonight.

You Spin Me Round

Like we needed a reason to love Paul Rudd any more? He and Jimmy Fallon re-made the iconic 1980s one hit wonder video “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” from ‘Dead or Alive’ and it is just genius. Rudd has the mannerisms and nuances of the leader singer Peter Burns down pat.

The original video is below so you can compare.

That’s What She Said

An enterprising Reddit user did an analysis of the total number of words that were spoken by all the characters across all 9 seasons of “The Office”. It is no surprise that Michael Scott led the way for the full series even though Steve Carell left the series after Season 7.

It is interesting that Andy and Pam are basically in a dead heat even though Andy did not enter the series until Season 3.  To a degree, the same goes for Erin and Kevin, being that Erin did not show up until Season 5! And then there is Creed…somehow averaging 431 words a season.

In digging into the numbers a little more, I found it interesting how things shifted after Steve Carell left the series. With Carell gone, you would predict that the show would have shifted its focus to Dwight and Jim and that is reflected in the fact that over the last two seasons, the average amount of words said for each of them per season increased by 69% and 31% respectively compared to the average for the previous 7.

What I found interesting though is that Andy actually saw the largest increase, more than doubling the amount of script words over the last two seasons (10,204) compared to his first 5 (4,522 on average from when he joined in Season 3) for an increase of 125%. And looking at other characters, on a relative basis, Darryl (230%), Oscar (150%) and Erin (106%) also saw large increases in attention/script words during the last two seasons.

With the recent ‘trend’ of reviving old shows/sitcoms (Trend being a relative term as the traditional networks and Hollywood has long since lost it’s inventive streak to the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other ‘independent’ outlets…but that is a story for another day) becoming more prominent, there have inevitably been rumors of an “Office” revival. I really hope the adult in the room comes to their senses and just leave this classic series alone. Look at the ‘revival’ of Arrested Development on Netflix. Those seasons were a shell of its former self. There is no reason to mess with perfection.

By George

George Clooney is a world famous actor as most people know.  However, a few recent stories I have seen recently have demonstrated that behind the good looks and purposely antagonistic interviewing style, is someone who appreciates the people who have impacted his life and the well being of his fellow man (or woman):

George invited “the boys” round for dinner and left designer luggage at each place setting. On opening the bags, each friend found $1 million in $20 bills. (Rande) Gerber (with whom George launched Casamigos Tequila) attempted to refuse the gift, but George argued that if Rande didn’t accept the money, nobody would get it.  Gerber explained that at the time, some of their friends were going through difficult times, struggling to make ends meet. George made the gesture as a thank you for the help each of the friends had given him in the past when he was in a similar position, saying: “I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life. I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you.”

More recently, as many know, the lifelong bachelor got married and now has twins.  During a trip ‘across the pond’ to London, he took the trouble to make a very thoughtful gesture to his fellow passengers:

As previously reported, the couple (Clooney and his wife Amal) gave first-class passengers custom-made noise-canceling headphones, which featured Clooney’s Casamigos tequila logo, on a British Airways flight. A source told Us that director Quentin Tarantino was one of the passengers who happily accepted a pair of headphones.

No matter how important you may think you are, or how famous you may get, being humble enough to recognize, appreciate, and give back to your friends and to also ‘pay it forward’ to fellow airline passengers (granted, first class passengers may not really need noise cancelling headphones) when you *know* it will be a long flight goes a long way.

Well played.  Golf clap.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer has been released in all its glory. T minus 56 days to go. I was able to watch it live when it was released at halftime of last night’s Giants disaster in Philadelphia. Watching it a few times afterwards on YouTube really helped put the nuggets of information into more perspective.

We were able to purchase tickets this morning, but not without some major troubles. The AMC Theaters website was crying bloody murder last night over the volume of traffic to the site. Supposedly, Fandango was not any better. It is not surprising as I doubt any tech company save Apple, Google, or Amazon could have handled what I would imagine was unprecedented levels of traffic trying to buy tickets.

Under two months until the re-boot of the Star Wars saga. I only hope that the movie can live up to the hype and expectations.

If you are interested in decorating your computer/device desktop with some Star Wars backgrounds, feel free to check out the Star Wars Desktop Wallpapers that I have created.

Tetris Turns 30

The simple yet ultra addictive game Tetris turns 30 years old today. Granted, it’s not nearly as popular as it was ‘back in the day’ but somehow, over the years, the game has survived and continued to have a life of it’s own.

Five years ago Google even honored the game with a Google Doodle.

Tetris junkies can find ample options to play the game online:

Free Tetris
Tetris 24 Hours A Day
Tetris on iTunes/Apple
Tetris on Google Play

Rise of the Flappy Bird

David Kushner from Rolling Stone traveled half way around the world and hunted down Dong Nguyen, the reclusive creator of the popular and viral sensation game Flappy Bird:

Two weeks after the demise of Flappy, I’m taxiing past pagodas and motorbikes to the outskirts of Hanoi, a crowded, rundown metropolis filled with street vendors selling pirated goods, to meet with Nguyen, who has agreed to share with Rolling Stone his whole story for the first time. With the international press and local paparazzi searching for him, Nguyen has been in hiding fleeing his parents’ house to stay at a friend’s apartment, where he now remains. Although dot-com millionaires have become familiar in the U.S., in Vietnam’s fledgling tech community they’re all but unheard of. When the country’s first celebrity geek, a boyish, slight guy in jeans and a gray sweater, walks hesitantly up and introduces himself, he measures his words and thoughts carefully, like placing pixels on a screen. “I was just making something fun to share with other people,” he says with the help of a translator. “I couldn’t predict the success of Flappy Bird.”

Apparently, Nguyen has a couple more games coming out (Kitty Jetpack and Checkonaut), slated to be released this month) on top of a game he actually released before Flappy Bird (Shuriken Block) and he even raised the prospect of re-releasing Flappy Bird. Whether Nguyen intended to or not, his move to pull Flappy Bird down at an apex of popularity may have been his most brilliant move. If Flappy Bird get’s released again, it may just break a lot of digital things and the ‘halo effect’ of Flappy Bird can only help any other games he releases now and in the future.

Source: Rolling Stone

And Now For Something Completely The Same

Saw this bit in the NY Times today about how the remaining members of Monty Python are planning a reunion tour of some sort. Seems it has been in some form of discussion for a few months now.

While I think this is interesting news, something tells me it won’t be nearly as funny as the originals when they were much much younger.

But it’s not about the art. It’s about the money.

You will not find a bigger Python fan than yours truly. However, I am skeptical that revisiting their classic bits as ~70 year old men will enhance their legacy. How will they be able to top the comic timing of The Dead Parrot Sketch, Ministry of Silly Walks, Spam Spam Spam Eggs and Spam, and numerous others? And not to mention their masterpiece Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.

I hope they prove me wrong. I really believe that comedy and movies from folks like Python should be left to let live based on the brilliance of their original work. Because as time goes by, you may see something in everyday life that reminds you of one of their skits (Like when you meet a person named Arthur Wilson. Or you see a postcard with Mount Kilimanjaro on it. Or you see a can of Spam.) and all you can do is smile.

Man On The Moon

Once again, the rumor that legendary comic Andy Kaufman is still alive is gaining steam almost 30 years after his ‘death’. I put ‘death’ in quotes because for these 30 years, it is exceedingly obvious that no one really knows the truth about if he actually died or if he faked his death.

For those of you unfamiliar, Kaufman was a comic who in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s took the world by storm with his innovative and irreverent acts, performance art, and elaborate pranks. Watch these videos here, here and here to get a taste of his act. Oh, and he also starred on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980’s, Taxi.

So this week at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards ceremony, which honors up and coming comics, the rumor of his faked death was re-invigorated yet again:

During the closing ceremony, Kaufman’s brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremonies to once again address the rumors that his brother had not passed away from lung cancer in 1984, but was actually alive, and living in obscurity.

Michael shared a story of finding his brother’s elaborate plans to fake his own death after Andy had passed on, along with a note that he would reappear on Christmas Eve 1999 at his favorite restaurant. Michael went to the restaurant, and though Andy never showed, a letter was handed to him that explained that Andy had gone into hiding to live a normal life and now had a wife and daughter”but didn’t want anyone to find out while the Kaufmans’ father Stanley was still alive.

Stanley, who established the Andy Kaufman Awards nine years ago to recognize upcoming talent in the spirit of Andy (previous winners include Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts), passed away this summer. According to Michael, a month afterwards, a 24-year old woman came forward to him, claiming that Andy had not died 29 years prior, was still very much alive, and quite grateful that the awards recognized young people who had been inspired by his work. The young woman, who was never named, came to the stage, though McCarthy doesn’t report her sharing any sort of story.

To paraphrase Verbal Kint: “The greatest trick Andy Kaufman ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Source: Defamer

Who Is Nick Beef?

November marks the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination and even to this day, the rumors and legends of who was behind his death continue to drive rabid interest.

Since 1996, a mysterious gravestone has sat adjacent to Lee Harvey Oswald’s in Shannon Rose Hill Cemetary in Fort Worth, TX which has fueled all sorts of chatter. Folks visiting Oswald’s grave couldn’t help but think that someone with a name like Nick Beef had to be associated with the Mafia. Problem is, the plot’s owner is alive, well and has no affiliation with “La Cosa Nostra” what so ever.

To begin with, Mr. Beef remains happily above the clay.

Affable, with gray-black hair slicked back, save for a stray curl or two, he sips tea at a cozy table at the Jack bistro in Greenwich Village, not far from his Manhattan apartment. With evident pride in possessing one of the more distinctive conversation starters in American discourse, he confirms that he owns the burial plot beside Lee Harvey Oswald’s.

Turns out “Mr. Beef” was at one point a stand up comic, writer, and father of two, who admits that he purchased the plot next to Oswald as somewhat of a morbid joke.

Source: NY Times.com

The Needle In the Haystack

For 77 years, researchers and historians have been fascinated by the disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s plane, which disappeared (crashed) during her attempt to fly around the world back in 1937. It was reported today on History.com that researchers may have found the remains of her plane based on some ‘sonar anomalies’ that they observed when researching the area that has been narrowed down as the site via evidence collected over the years. The image above shows the area they have been researching along with the different items that have been detailed over the years. The Discover News site has a slideshow with more details.

I remember watching Leonard Nemoy’s “In Search Of…” as a kid and seeing the episode about her story. What an awesome discovery if this is it.

via Discovery News

WTF Is Psy

As PSY danced, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda (sitting, in the blue shirt) looked on with a quizzical expression.

The Korean “star” Psy showed up at Dodger Stadium last night and took the place over for a few minutes. Check out former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda’s reaction and facial expressions as Psy starts doing his thing on the concourse, right next to Lasorda’s VIP seat. Only in LA.