Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm on YouTube. . .sort of

I’m pleased to announce the beginning of what I hope will be a beautiful friendship between YouTube and I. Announcing “The other side of the island” YouTube channel!

When you go to the site, you will probably notice that at the moment, I have no subscribers. There’s a very good reason for this. I have no videos. :)

Not yet, anyway. At the moment, my YouTube page is just a way of showcasing certain things I’ve seen on YouTube and would like others to see as well. It’s a chance for me to point out clips that I think are noteworthy. YouTube experts like sawing14s and mstatz have been posting clips that are worthy of note for several months now. You can see the ones I wish to showcase in my list of favorites on my “channel.” (“Channel” is YouTube lingo for my main YouTube page.)

My list of favorites will not be static. If I see another clip I like, I’ll probably add it to the favorites - and delete one of my old favorites. That’s not because I don’t like it anymore, that’s just to make room for current clips. I would like you to be able to click on exactly the clip you want from my front page, without having to search through several thousand pages to find the clip I‘m referring to.

Here are the first eight favorite clips that I’d like to present:

1. Gimme Five. Now THIS is classic! Perhaps you needed to grow up with Sesame Street in the 1970s to understand how special this is. David, Bob, Gordon and Luis join forces as “The Lovers of Five” to sing the praises of their favorite number. And not only is it ridiculously fun, but they sound great as they sing together!

2. Grover the Waiter: The Big Hamburger - Classic Sesame Street clip with Grover offering two sizes of hamburger to “Fat Blue.” (Dang, we need to give that guy a better name. Let’s call him “Mr. Johnson,” since that was his name in the singing telegram skit, okay?) Anyway, this is a great example of Sesame St. humor. As you watch the skit, you immediately begin to sense where the joke is going. But even though you know the punch line ahead of time, it doesn’t detract from your enjoyment of the skit. This is one of the more memorable “Grover as waiter” skits.

3. Mr. Rogers Farewell - Mister Rogers recorded a series of brief promos for PBS, and this is one that I had not seen before. It seems to be directed toward those of us who grew up with him, and it is something very special indeed. (By the way, other cast members like Betty Aberlin and Charles Aber also recorded promos for Mister Rogers. Anybody have any of those?)

4. Big Blue Marble Intro. - This is what video collecting was meant to be! Here’s a clip that I thought nobody else in the world would ever know existed!

If you ask somebody what “Big Blue Marble” was, you’ll probably run into few people who actually remember the show. If you ask them to sing the theme song, they’ll begin, “The Earth’s a big blue marble when you see it from out there. . .” But then if you stop them, and ask them to sing the OTHER theme song from “Big Blue Marble,” they’ll say, “What the (bleep) are you talking about? There was no other theme song from Big Blue Marble!”

But there was. And here is the clip to prove it. And although I do like the original theme, this second version is actually a nice song. It’s rare clips like this that make video collecting a personal joy. Here are the lyrics as best as I can transcribe them:

Closer, growing closer.
Perspectives start to change, things look a little strange
As we get closer.

Closer, getting closer.
No need to be afraid, our troubles start to fade
As we get closer.

Together is a word we must learn to understand
If we ever want to get to know each other better.
Together is a word that holds tomorrow in its hand
And tomorrow’s just another day to get together
And get closer
Closer. . .

5. Ernie & Bert role reversal - A unique clip of Ernie trying to imagine what life must be like for Bert. It demonstrates a little bit of empathy from our friend. It’s also one of the longer E&B skits, clocking in at over 4 minutes. YouTube is actually a great venue for showcasing Ernie and Bert, because most of their sketches are relatively short. In fact, the YouTube system could present a great opportunity for Sesame Workshop to showcase some of their classic clips. Are you guys listening? :)

6. Ernie makes Bert a soda - What a great clip! A rare scene of E&B outside their apartment, and a funny skit to boot. “What are friends for, Bert?” Watching this one skit could turn someone into an E&B fan. A must-see!

7. Sesame Street: Keeping the park clean - This clip may not look like much to the average viewer, but it is one of the classic clips from Sesame Street that I had been seeking for years. I’m so glad somebody posted this. Enjoy the beautiful music.

Does anybody know what the beautiful music in this film is? It sounds like a classical piece by Bach or someone like that, but for all I know it was just something specifically written for this film. Please listen to this piece, and if you DO know what it is, please send me a message at, but take out the “nosp” from my address before you do.

8. Friends: Underwear promo - What the world needs now is more pictures of Courteney Cox Arquette in her underwear. Actually, this promo kind of set the stage for the entire series. It was a series that was designed to titillate without being too graphic. Many people spent the next ten years waiting for another underwear scene. And they weren’t entirely disappointed! Among other things, we got to see Courteney in a tight cat suit (rowr!) and a red bikini top. No offense is intended here. But it does seem like Courteney is still playing to essentially the same crowd with her new show “Dirt.” It’s basically a more gritty & graphic version of “Friends.” I’m hoping for a bondage scene next. That would make my life complete. I say she gets tied up within the next two years. (assuming the show is still around). Are we taking bets? :)

When I see a clip that I’d like to showcase, I’ll let you know in a blog posting, and point you back to my YouTube channel, where you can watch it. Since these clips aren’t mine, I am unable to trade them with you via the Internet or any other way. You would have to rely on your “YouTube” download or contact the original poster of the video.

“But where are YOUR clips?” you cry. Well, I’m very much still in the dark ages over here, and I find myself usually working with a very slow Internet connection or a very slow computer or both. It doesn’t make it easy to upload or download huge files. Perhaps later on when things improve, I can add some of my own stuff, but until then, I’m very glad to be able to show what others have done. And actually, in most cases, I can’t improve on what others have already posted.

As you know, YouTube is currently going through some disagreements with Viacom & others who feel that they are infringing upon copyright. In a sense, the outcome of all this could change not just YouTube, but the way we collect data from the Internet. It’s too early to guess what will happen. I’m hoping that both sides will be happy, but I’m especially hoping that the web-surfing public will be happy. Because if they’re not, then neither side really wins.

Who knows? Maybe YouTube is the beginning of real high-quality video sharing over the Internet. Maybe someday we’ll be downloading stuff that looks as nice as the highest-quality video. That day is not today. But until then, we’ll keep YouTubing.
Is that a new verb? Hey, “googling” is, isn’t it?


For a brief introduction to YouTube and a list of what you’ll need to view the videos, check out this post:


A funny thing happened when I visited the United States Post Office web page this week.
( My computer began to make this funny beeping noise. Oh no - what is Windows up to now? What stupid program is it trying to run? Well, the beeping noise continued, and it began to sound very familiar. My suspicions were confirmed when who should crawl across the web page but R2-D2!

Here, courtesy of, is the press release:

"WASHINGTON, D.C. & SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Tomorrow morning in neighborhoods and street corners not so far, far away, hundreds of official U.S. Postal Service blue collection boxes will be transformed into look-alikes of Star Wars character R2-D2 to promote an exciting new adventure on which the Postal Service is embarking with Lucasfilm Ltd.As the legion of Star Wars fans around the world first learned 30 years ago, R2-D2 is the feisty astromech droid who embodies the trust and dependability for which the Postal Service is so renowned.The R2-D2 collection boxes will temporarily replace boxes in highly visible locations across the country. Customers can, of course, drop mail into them just like any other of the 280,000 collection boxes, but there’s a striking difference visually: Not only do the R2-D2 boxes look like the ever-popuar Star Wars character, they feature the address of a website that gives clues about the real meaning behind this unprecedented promotion — details about the promotion will be announced March 28. Look for the R2-D2 mailbox near you… until then, “May the Force be with you.”

This is a mixed blessing. In the movies, R2-D2 is the most reliable droid you could ever hope for. But as George Lucas will tell you, working with R2 is not always a bed of roses. He often bumps into walls, or doesn’t move when you want him to. For the sake of all our mail, let us hope that neither rain, nor snow, or jawa attacks prevent R2 from his appointed rounds.
Now if only the folks from “Star Trek” get into the act. Then we’ll be able to “beam up” our mail! :)