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.

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Bowie in the USSR

Photo Credit: Leee Black Childers via Wende Museum

We lost rock legend David Bowie way too soon, however there is not a shortage of footage of the rock icon to remind us how supremely cool and influential he was. At the Wende Museum in Culver City, CA is a very intimate collection of photos of Bowie as he traveled by train, boat and automobile from Japan to Europe because he was not comfortable flying:

In 1973, after performing in Japan as part of his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane tour, Bowie headed home to Europe through the Soviet Union. He was fearful of flying and journeyed by boat, car and train with a close childhood friend, Geoff MacCormack, a percussionist and backup vocalist on the concert tour. The trip included a week on the Trans-Siberian Express from the city of Khabarovskto Moscow, where they stayed for two days.

Before they embarked on their trip, Bowie bought a 16mm movie camera in Japan and MacCormack, who later made a living as a songwriter and producer in advertising for 20 years, bought a Nikkormat camera. They documented their journey on and off the train, capturing the landscapes whizzing by, their fellow travelers and each other, both posing for the camera and in candid moments. Footage from Bowie’s “The Long Way Home” film is also on view at the Wende.

“This exhibition is basically holiday snapshots,” says Olya Sova, who guest-curated the Wende exhibition. “Not David Bowie in the studio, no makeup or posing with lights. It’s just two friends traveling together and having fun and exploring places that are really different from their reality.”

Deborah Vankin, The Los Angeles Times
Photo Credit: Geoff MacCormack via Wende Museum
Photo Credit: Geoff MacCormack via Wende Museum

I really love when candid, intimate photos of famous people surface in today’s world – photos from before they became really famous – and these few shots fit that bill. I would love to get out to LA to see the full collection before the exhibit closes!

h/t: Laura Olin

I Want to Watch My Favorite Teams

An interesting thing transpired this week out in the San Diego market. Major League Baseball teams here in the US have traditionally relied on local networks to broadcast the majority of their games to the fans in the team’s region of the country. So, for example, I live in the NYC metro area so the Yankees and the Mets are broadcast locally via YES and SNY respectively – cable networks partially or fully owned by the teams themselves. Out in San Diego, where the Padres play, the broadcaster Diamond Sports Group (who operates as Bally Sports) a few weeks ago failed to pay the licensing fee to broadcast Padres games. Once the grace period to pay the fee expired, Diamond Sports Group effectively, and apparently willingly, broke their contract and rescinded their rights to broadcast Padres games.

Diamond, the Sinclair subsidiary that operates under the name Bally Sports, skipped its payment to the Padres a couple of weeks ago and had until the end of its grace period on Tuesday to make the team whole and maintain their long-term agreement. Choosing not to meant Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins was the last Padres game under the Bally Sports umbrella. Moving forward — starting Wednesday, continuing through the end of the season and resuming in perpetuity — MLB will air Padres games through its streaming service and on different cable channels.

MLB will provide Padres games through its MLB.TV app for free through Sunday. After that, in-market fans can continue to stream games for $19.99 a month or $74.99 for the rest of the regular season on MLB.com and Padres.com (postseason games air on national platforms). Through this process, Padres games will no longer be subject to blackouts. Local fans can also watch Padres games through a variety of cable providers — AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Cox and Spectrum — on a different channel. fuboTV will also continue to air Padres games through its platform.

In a release issued late Tuesday night, MLB stated that the new approach would increase the Padres’ reach from 1.13 million to about 3.2 million homes within the team’s TV territory.

Alden Gonzalez, ESPN

What we are seeing here is the the first crack in the local/regional sports broadcasting ecosystem as a result of the rampant “cord cutting” that is happening around the country and the world. The significance of this can not be understated. We may very well see a few more teams/regional networks suffer the same fate and that will mean that the league(s) will start to take over “local” broadcasting services. The economic implications on the league will be very interesting to watch as the sky high valuations of many MLB teams have historically been tied to the value of the regional sports networks that the individual franchises have huge stakes in. If those broadcast rights shift to the leagues, how does that impact the individual teams, especially if the streaming subscription dollars do not add up to the ‘per household’ fees traditionally paid through cable packages?

Another interesting element this highlights and also brings into focus is one that has been around forever – the fact that not all fans of said teams are located in that region of the country. I am a displaced New Englander who lives in the NYC metro area. For as long as I have lived here, the only way I have been able to watch the Red Sox on broadcast or cable TV has been if the Red Sox were playing the Yankees or Mets (or the Braves on TBS), or if they were being broadcast nationally (regular season and/or playoffs).

If I wanted to be able to see all the games of my favorite teams – basically to mimic what I would be able to watch if I was living in New England – I’d have to subscribe to ‘league pass’ services from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and drop an additional $750/year. And that’s not even counting if I’m a soccer fan where an MLS subscription would be another $100 via the new Apple TV+ deal or that the English Premier League has many games broadcast on NBC’s Peacock premium streaming service.

If I wanted to be able to see all the games of my favorite teams – basically to mimic what I would be able to watch if I was living in New England – I’d have to subscribe to ‘league pass’ services from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and drop an additional $750/year. And that’s not even counting if I’m a soccer fan where an MLS subscription would be another $100 via the new Apple TV+ deal or that the English Premier League has many games broadcast on NBC’s Peacock premium streaming service. Or, I could just move back to the New England region.

Tweets from the Week Ending 05.26.23

My activity on Twitter from the week ending 05.26.23, just in case you may be interested.

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.

A Hole in One, On The Fly

Ace in the hole

On an average day, with an average golfer, the odds of hitting a hole in one is about 12,500 to 1. For professional golfers, the odds of a hole in one fall significantly to 3,000 to 1. Most hole in one shots are similar – the ball, which is 1.68″ in diameter, lands on the green, rolls towards the cup, which is 4.5″ in diameter, and then falls in, which is then followed by vigorous celebration and high fives all around. So then, what do we think the odds are of a golfer of any skill level making a hole in one on the fly? Meaning, that 1.68″ diameter ball doesn’t touch the green and literally lands right in the 4.5″ diameter hole. The odds have to be astronomical. And that is exactly what happened at this weekend’s PGA Championship when Michael Block, a golf course pro from California (not even a PGA Touring pro!!), aced the 15th hole at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY. Take a look at the video. It is a stunning shot. It even took Mr. Block several minutes for it to register that he aced it.

More visuals of Titanic wreck

Continuing with my high level of interest (obsession?) with the wreck of the Titanic (for whatever reason, I just can’t take in enough detail about the topic), some very high detail digital scans of the wreck site were released yesterday, showing it in amazing detail. It is so detailed in fact that you can see the serial number on one of the ship’s propeller blades. From the article:

The Titanic has been extensively explored since the wreck was discovered in 1985. But it’s so huge that in the gloom of the deep, cameras can only ever show us tantalizing snapshots of the decaying ship – never the whole thing.

The new scan captures the wreck in its entirety, revealing a complete view of the Titanic. It lies in two parts, with the bow and the stern separated by about 800m (2,600ft). A huge debris field surrounds the broken vessel.

The scan was carried out in summer 2022 by Magellan Ltd, a deep-sea mapping company, and Atlantic Productions, who are making a documentary about the project.

Submersibles, remotely controlled by a team on board a specialist ship, spent more than 200 hours surveying the length and breadth of the wreck.

They took more than 700,000 images from every angle, creating an exact 3D reconstruction.

Rebecca Morelle from the BBC

Notts County Deliver A Stunning Victory

Notts County vs. Boreham Wood

The 2022-23 season in the English National League (England’s 5th tier football league) has been defined by the phenomenal race at the top of the table between Wrexham AFC and Notts County. As good as Wrexham was this season, Notts County was equal to the task, keeping everyone in suspence all the way to the critical match at the Racecourse on April 10. It was a battle for the ages with (essentially) automatic promotion to League 2 (England’s Fourth Tier) to the winner, while the 2nd place team likely had to reckon with the playoff round for the final promotion spot. And as we all know, just about anything can happen in a playoff round, as Wrexham found out last year.

Yesterday, Notts County took on Boreham Wood with the winner going to Wembley for the National League Playoff final. Boreham Wood has the best defense in the National League. Notts County accumulated a record 107 points this season, a clear 25 points better than Boreham and only bested by Wrexham’s 111. All those facts didn’t matter yesterday, as Boreham took a 2-0 lead in the first half. And from there, Notts County staged a comeback for the ages – scoring the tying goal in the 97th minute of regulation – literally the last minute of the game (And you must remember, the April 10 game against Wrexham was decided in the last minute as well) – and then scored the winning goal 30 minutes into extra time. Just watch the highlight reel above. It is an amazing summary of the game – especially because each team had ample opportunities to score throughout the entire game.

The quality of football in the English Premier League is world class – there is no argument there. However, the energy, passion and enthusiasm that we have witnessed through this year’s National League season has been every bit as spectacular.

Dune: Part 2 – The First Trailer

Dune: Part 2

The movie drops in November. I am sure there will be a few other trailers that will drop between now and then. I really enjoyed the first movie – I honestly think that as time continues to hurtle forward, it will be looked back on in the same light as the original Star Wars. Villeneuve did an amazing job of creating a world in the first movies and clearly defining the key players. I am confident that Part 2 will continue the build on the strength of the first movie.

Wrexham FTW

I admit it. I jumped onto the Wrexham AFC bandwagon as soon as I heard about Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchasing the club, and then went head first all in after watching the wonderful 1st season of their documentary “Welcome to Wrexham”. I started following Wrexham on ESPN – tracking their every game and checking the standings religiously. I carved out a Wrexham section in Apple News, salivating for any tid bit of news or information about the team and its upcoming matches, since the English National League (England’s 5th level soccer division – something similar to single A baseball here in the US) does not get much attention. I have been trying to purchase the Wrexham baseball cap that has their crest on the front. And as this season has progressed and it became apparent that Wrexham was in a record setting steel cage death match with Notts County (both teams have surpassed 100 points this season, an unheard of level of success for one team, much less two in the same season!) for promotion from the English National League to the EFL League 2 division (the English Football League’s 4th division) and that the April 10 match vs Notts County at Wrexham’s Racecourse Grounds was going to be an important match. And oh, did it deliver. Wrexham won 3-2 but that does not begin to tell the whole story. Take a few minutes to watch this short highlight video from the match – because it had literally everything, from Wrexham coming from behind to win, to the 40 year old goalkeeper who used to play for Manchester United (English football royalty), who came out of retirement a month ago to join Wrexham because their lead goalie was injured, making the game winning save on a Penalty Kick in the 96th and last minute of extra time. Yes, even Hollywood could not have written this.

Highlight reel – Wrexham AFC vs. Notts County – April 10, 2023

What is most appealing to me about this whole story is how ‘all in’ both Reynolds and McElhenney are with their responsibility to the club and the city of Wrexham. There was a lot of conjecture early on that they both were doing this as a publicity stunt, but it is obvious from the documentary, from the way they have engaged with the Wrexham community, and from the level of investment that both have made to the club and the north Wales region, that they are fully 1000% committed for the long haul. Hell, Reynolds just bought a home outside of Wrexham. League 2 is just the first step in their quest. They have their sights set on the English Premier League. And the scary thing is – they may just get there. Earlier this year, Wrexham participated in the FA Cup – an elimination tournament that all English teams from the EPL to the National League participate – and went to the round of 16 by beating 3nd Division Coventry City at their home field, and then came thisclose to beating 2nd division Sheffield United. (Had they won that Sheffield United match, they would have hosted Harry Kane and Totteham Hotspur on Wrexham’s home field, The Racecourse Ground, which would have be an off the charts event). This team is legit and can hang with many of the top teams in English soccer.

I sincerely hope that Wrexham succeeds in their goal to achive automatic promotion to League 2. And I sincerely hope that Notts County wins the playoff to secure their promtion to League 2 as well, because they are just as deserving. I am, and will always be, a Newcastle United fan first – who themselves are having a spectacular season in the EPL – however I am unapologetic about joining the many newly minted Wrexham fans out there and look forward to riding this as long as they will let me.

Also, in honor of both teams, here are their Desktop Wallpapers that I created reflecting the kits they wore for yesterday’s match: Wrexham (Red) and Notts County (White)

A Deep Analysis of How to Eat Oreos

A bucket full of Oreos.

File this under information and analysis you didn’t know you needed, via Yahoo and The Independent:

Crystal Owens, a PhD candidate in MIT’s mechanical engineering department, spoke about her and her team’s study, in which they examine the fan-favourite snack, during a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. In their work, which was published in the Physics of Fluids journal last year, these scientists studied the equal distribution of an Oreo’s creme, in which it ends up on both side of the wafer when the cookie is broken apart.

Speaking to WSJ, Owens went on to explain her team’s method: putting the cookie between two counter-rotating plates, through a device called a rheometer. She said also said that when they glued different Oreo flavours to the rheometer, it would twist the cookie open at different speeds.

However, after placing over 1,000 Oreos on to that device, these MIT scientists still found that nearly 80 per cent of the creme stuck to only one side of the wafer. Owens went on to note that regardless of how fast or slow the rheometers opened the Oreo, the results didn’t change.

“We also tested the cookies by hand—twisting, peeling, pressing, sliding and doing other basic motions to get an Oreo apart,” she said. “There was no combination of anything that we could do by hand or in the rheometer that changed anything in our result.”

The Independent

And at the very bottom of the cited article is a great YouTube video demonstrating an amazing Oreo hack. Take some milk from a straw and ‘blow’ it into the creme filling of your Oreo and doing that creates a ‘creme infused filling’ in your cookie! Wow!! Must try this next time!!

h/t: Dave Pell and Next Draft

The Fosbury Flop

Dick Fosbury, the man who literally transformed the sport of high jumping with his unique ‘flop’ method, died today. The above video details how the method of high jumping that he introduced in the 1968 Mexico Olympics transformed the sport and quickly became the ‘de facto’ method and style of high jumping to this day.

The technique has been compared to a corpse being pushed out of a window. Like Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling, Fosbury’s flopping struck many onlookers as residing somewhere between a physical feat and a joke. At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the crowd oohed, aahed and laughed watching Fosbury compete.

But the last laugh was his: The high-jump bar kept being raised, and Fosbury kept clearing it. He finally executed a Fosbury Flop at 7 feet 4¼ inches — earning him not just the gold medal, but an Olympic record at the time.

NY Times

What is most interesting is that Fosbury was an engineering student and took a mathematical, problem solving approach to his sport, with the end result being his innovative flop method. What is most bizarre in this video – primarily because the “Fosbury Flop” is so common today – is the footage of how high jumpers used to do high jumping. They would go feet first – which makes zero sense when looking at that method in the year 2023.

Updated Ted Lasso Wallpapers For Season 3

Couldn’t help but notice that a new season of Ted Lasso is right around the corner, premiering next Wednesday March 15. While I am looking forward to the new season, my ‘jump the shark‘ spidey senses are tingling ever so slightly. Hoping I’m wrong and it sustains the ‘believe’ vibe of the first two seasons.

One of the main reasons for concern is that now Nike is manufacturer of the AFC Richmond kits/uniforms (vs. the previously fictional company Verani Sports). And with this change also comes new home and away kit designs for AFC Richmond, which I have in turn created as desktop wallpapers. You can find them below and in the Random > TV Tab gallery here on my site. Believe!!

Ted Lasso - AFC Richmond [Season 3]
Ted Lasso – AFC Richmond [Season 3]
Ted Lasso - AFC Richmond (Away) [Season 3]
Ted Lasso – AFC Richmond (Away) [Season 3]
Ted Lasso – AFC Richmond (Third) [Season 3]
Ted Lasso – AFC Richmond (Third) [Season 3]

Update: You can see previous Ted Lasso wallpapers here or in the TV tab on the Miscellaneous page.

Footage from first discovery of Titanic in 1986

I am just a sucker for these types of stories – where footage of a seminal event is unearthed. As long as I can remember, the story of the Titanic checked all the boxes for me, way before James Cameron’s movie of the same name was released. So when the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute this week released previously unseen footage from their very first exploration of the wreckage site in 1986, I was all in. Yes, I sat and watched the whole video. Imagine being the scientists in 1986 and being the first humans to see the wreckage since it hit the ocean floor on that fateful night in 1912?

In a milestone that will definitely make you feel old, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Titanic’s (the movie) theatrical release and to celebrate, the studios re-released it in select theaters! So last weekend, I went to see it with my son – primarily because he had never seen the movie before! The movie has been made fun of, has been meme-ed to death, and has received its fair share of criticism, yet watching it again on the big screen was spectacular (!!!), I have to say. I picked up things I had not remembered or noticed the first few times I’d seen it. Seeing Leo and Kate 25 years younger was pretty awesome. And the scenes at the end when (spoiler alert) the ship is sinking and the stern of the vessel starts to raise out of the water were just stunning on the big screen! You can try all you want, but you won’t get that same experience watching it on your TV in a living room. Yes, the movie could have been shorter. Yeah, the water that breached the ship was ice cold in real life, yet the actors in the on-ship scenes made it feel like they were wading in the town pool on a 75 degree day. Yeah, Jack could have fit on the piece of wood with Rose. For all it’s flaws, seeing Titanic in the theater was an outstanding experience and I would recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to see it on the big screen!

John Waters Tours ‘Dreamland Studios’

This is – ‘chef’s kiss’ – perfect. John Waters touring his apartment back in 1986.

“I collect paintings of murderesses. This is one of the Manson Girls – Susan Atkins – who is a Jesus freak now”

“I collect fake meat. I have fake meat all over the house. It makes people very nervous when they are walking around. Also candy. Everything is fake in the house. I like the idea of fake food everywhere.”

“Here is an electric chair. It is not real, but it is an exact replica of one that was used in “Female Trouble”. It makes the telephone repairman very nervous when the come in the house and all workmen do their job very well because I just spy it out of the corner of my eye when explaining what needs to be done.”

John Waters

Frank Lloyd Wright Designs That Were Not Built

Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered one of the greatest architects to have ever lived. His designs are legendary – from Fallingwater to the Robie House to the Guggenheim. His houses and designs had a distinctive look that came to be known as the “Prairie Style“. In fact, several of his homes have hit the market recently and the prospect of living in one of his homes has been a secret dream of mine.

With all the distinctive homes and designs of his that did get made, there were even more that never got made. So architect David Romero decided to do something about that by using computer generated models to create visuals of some of distinctive designs of his that never became reality. Many of the renderings can be found at his site Hooked On The Past and his Flickr gallery. My personal favorite is the rendering of the National Life Insurance Building in Chicago, which is the last of the examples below.

The Gordon Strong Automobile Objective by David Romero
A rendering of the Arizona State Capitol interior by David Romero
A rendering of the National Life Insurance Building by David Romero