Monthly Archives: November 2010

Go Read: David Zucker’s Tribute to Leslie Nielsen

The ever-evolving Hollywood Reporter is fast becoming a must-read for me. Today they ran David Zucker’s tribute to Leslie Nielsen, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Go and read it.

Here’s just one snippet:

“We invariably would get to discussing our history together, reminiscing a bit and renewing our good-natured debate about who the hell was luckier to have met the other, Leslie Nielsen or the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team. The truth was, all of us knew how grateful we were to have each other in our lives, both professionally and personally, and we expressed it to each other often.”

As much as I love Nielsen’s work on Airplane, I also fondly remember his work on the short-lived TV series, Due South.

Missed It: American Masters | LENNONYC

I was kicking myself earlier this week when I missed the latest installment of American Masters | LENNONYC, the “two hour documentary exploring Lennon’s life in New York City during the 1970s as a father, husband, activist and artist”. Then I realized that PBS might post it online. Indeed they did, and in fact I am able to embed the full documentary at the site.

Watch the full episode. See more American Masters.

Almost Missed It: The Weepies’ New Album

So a few weeks back, I was putting my son to bed. Like his father, my son goes to sleep listening to the radio (I did this as a kid and stopped the practice whenever I married, in deference, first to my ex-wife, and now to my current wife; but if my wife is out of town I cannot sleep without the sound of music).

Anyways, I turned the radio on for him (he’s partial to Dave FM), and within seconds I recognized the voice of Weepies‘ singer Deb Talan. It turns out the band came out with a new album (Be My Thrill) in August, which I knew nothing about.  I like what I hear (as I always do with the Weepies) and plan to pick it up as I soon as I can.

In the meantime, here’s a video from the album, the title cut in fact.

The Weepies always make damn great videos as well, and this entry is no different.

From the Inbox: Jason Spooner’s Seed In The Ground

Jason Spooner

So earlier this week, I had a pleasant surprise in my inbox. Damien Goyenechea of Sarathan Online Services sent me a link to Seed In The Ground, a new song from singer/songwriter Jason Spooner‘s latest album, Sea Monster.

There’s a hook to the song and a quality/vibe to Spooner’s singing/writing voice that reminds me of Griffin House. I’m simple, give me an engaging hook and I’m eager to hear more of your music. You can download the song yourself, for free, by visiting Spooner’s site.

In addition to finding out about this free download, I also was able to get Spooner to agree to an email interview, which hopefully will come together in the next few weeks.

Going forward, I hope to be able to do more of these kinds of links to great music. But one way that it will definitely happen more often is if musicians send links to me. My inbox is always open and you can always find a way to contact me by clicking the About page (or commenting in this thread). I look forward to hearing from folks.

Jeanine Cummins on The Outside Boy

The Outside Boy

Back in the late 1980s, when I was studying Irish Folklore in college, I distinctly remember my fascination with the subject of Irish Travellers. So when Ron Hogan tweeted about Jeanine Cummins‘ debut novel, The Outside Boy,  and I found out it touched upon the life of Travellers, I was immediately interested in finding out more. Thus, this email interview. Cummins describes her debut novel in this informational video (posted above).

Tim O’Shea: How much research did you have to do about Irish Travellers before embarking on the book?

Jeanine Cummins: A lot. I already had a basic knowledge of the travelling community, just from living in Ireland, but most of my ideas about them were informed by the stereotypes that exist in the mainstream Irish culture. I didn’t actually know any travellers. So when I first began my research, I read everything I could find by, and about, travellers. And then, after tons of reading, I went to Ireland, and met lots of travellers and spoke with them about their experiences. They were fascinating people, and for the most part, very warm and welcoming.

Continue reading Jeanine Cummins on The Outside Boy

Sneak Peek: Brad Meltzer’s Decoded

Friend of the blog/New York Times best-selling author/Guy generally juggling three amazing projects at once Brad Meltzer sent me a link to his new History Channel show, Decoded, which is set to premiere on Thursday, December 2, at 10pm. (Ya gotta love that Brad, fellow child of the 1980s, referenced the old LA Law timeslot when mentioning his show’s timeslot to me.)

Here’s how the History Channel describes the show:

“What if the history you knew was only half the story? Brad Meltzer’s Decoded investigates the other half: the secret history of the symbols and codes that surround us everyday. Best-selling author Brad Meltzer has been writing novels for more than a decade. He has studied and written about some of the most revered institutions and documents in human history, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Presidency, the Secret Service, Wall Street and the Bible. Brad has assembled a team to investigate the countless clues and theories uncovered through his years of research, but unexplored until now. From the dollar bill to the first Presidential Codes, the hidden messages of the Statue of Liberty and the ciphers protecting the location of lost Confederate gold, the team uncovers the truth behind history’s most provocative secrets.”

The show looks to be an interesting premise, plus I’m jealous that his show is sponsored by Porsche and that the hosts get to drive a Porsche as part of the show. I look forward to seeing it on December 2.

Christopher Eck on Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and the Big Storm

Gumbo Yah-Yah

Back when I was in a high school journalism class in the mid-1980s, my teenage self could not have imagined such a thing as the Internet, much less the fact I would be interviewing a published author who happened to be a high school classmate of mine. But here I am, interviewing first-time children’s literature writer/illustrator, Christopher Eck, about his book, The Story of Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and the Big Storm. I discovered his book through our high school alumni newsletter, contacted Eck and he was kind enough to do an email interview about the tale conceived initially for his daughter, but expanded to a larger audience and meaning partially motivated by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. The book, which tells the “story of Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and his journey in and around New Orleans after Katrina”, can be purchased here and proceeds from the sale of the book will help charities working toward the recovery from Katrina. Eck explains what charities will be supported during our interview. An added bonus in this interview, I found out someone other than myself appreciates the writing of the late Walker Percy.

Tim O’Shea: You started developing this story prior to Hurricane Katrina for your daughter. In fact, she, along with your wife and your son made up the initial critical audience for the book as you were developing it. Can you think of ways that their feedback helped you reshape the way you approached the story?

Christopher Eck: My family was especially helpful in shaping and reshaping the original storyline in many ways. The genesis for the story itself began as a bedtime story for my daughter about a blue alligator when she was age three. As a father, I realized that she and other kids – and later my son – respond really well to stories about animals and vivid colors. So I knew pretty much right away that if she enjoyed the idea of the character of Gumbo that it was something I could work with and further develop.

Continue reading Christopher Eck on Gumbo Yah-Yah the Blue Alligator and the Big Storm

On hulu: The Dick Van Dyke Show

If IMDb is to be believed, this episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show, Happy Birthday and Too Many More, was one of the few to not be filmed with a studio audience. Why? Because it was filmed right around the time JFK was assassinated and there was a belief that no audience would be in the mood to laugh in the wake of the tragedy. Admittedly, you cannot tell there’s no audience, because the prerecorded laugh track was already in use by this time.

Still any chance to get to show a Dick Van Dyke Show is fine by me. Enjoy.