My favorite show of the moment is a British delight called The Detectorists – now on Netflix. It is an amazing slice of life piece, with Pnin-like victories for simple and simply charming folks with the interesting and quirky hobby of metal detecting.

I recall Ricky Gervais making a statement several years ago about 2 or 3 years being the maximum life span of a good TV show. And that’s with the 8 or so episodes expected of a BBC show. Contrast that to the 7+ seasons most US shows squeeze out and consider the value. American TV is focused on franchise development and delivering the familiar (see Top 40 Music) ad nauseam. These BBC shows, however, leave you desperate for more.

So what’s better? Knowing your trite sitcom character so well that you can practically predict her monthly cycle as she pines for the elusive heartthrob, or diving into your imagination and wondering what the future holds for Lance.

Seeing how Ricky Gervais has brilliantly revitalized his David Brent character in the past year suggests that the entertainment industry doesn’t have to make the big cash grab all at once – iron hot or not – but then, where’s the artistic value in being patient?

Then again…

Now that I think of it, informal as our cinematic gathering may be, coffee pots may come into play. The only problem with yard movies, regardless of screen size, is that you have to wait for it to be pretty dark. It just won’t work otherwise. The plight of the drive-in movie theater as well. So any movie night is going to work best if the next morning is somewhat… relaxed?

Can’t let that 9am hike in the morning cramp my style, right?

Drive-in style

Speaking of outdoor movies (which I did in my last post) we’re hosting one tonight! What better way to celebrate the end of school and the official (calendar) start of Summer? We’re going to run Airplane! because I love the classic comedy, it is more or less kid friendly, and I just got it on DVD and haven’t seen it in years.

This is going to be a regular thing. Fairly informal, no personalized tablecloths or catered dining. More of a BYOB affair with popcorn and Twizzlers. It should be lovely.

Run away!

So it is the first day of Summer and the last day of school. That means 2+ months with three kids at home.


Actually, it should be pretty good. The boys have already agreed to a Summer reading quota. We’re going to project regular movies in the yard on my lovely new 5 foot by 9 foot screen. And we’re even talking about an exercise routine. Should be swell.

The Front Yard Drive-In

Summer is coming and we’ve got the all new 5 by 9 foot screen and projector ready. Killer movies at my house people! I can’t wait to rock it out in the front yard. Let’s all go to the lobby indeed. We’ll be grilling up a storm and rockin’ it old school with cartoons and serials and the whole nine yards. Maybe we’ll even have an intermission dance party with a strobe light from musicians friend and pounding hits from the 70s playing all night long.

We keep it real in Northern Dutchess.


I’ve been watching Warehouse 13 on Netflix while exercising for the last couple weeks and I’m definitely digging the show. I got interested after their interesting crossover with Eureka. When I cleared my Netflix queue of Eureka options I latched onto Warehouse 13. It’s a different show – a very different show. And yet appealing as all get out.

The artifact angle is a great way to get your neo-Indiana Jones on, though I’d hit before tapping a real Phoenix any day.

Something I love about both shows is unique product placement. Someone behind Eureka seems to have scored an early deal with Jeep, but at some point beyond the first season they went all Subaru. There’s a Subaru cop car, and all the cool kids want the blue one. There are entire episodes that center around Subarus. And while they never actually name the brand, there are occasionally money shots of the forward grill emblem. Gotta love it.

In a similar though non-automotive vein, I’ve noticed in season 2 of Warehouse 13 an inordinate number of twizzler shots. Indeed, it is one agents favorite snack. She says “I’m a Twizzler girl” in one episode turning down high sugar treats. “Grab me some Twizzlers and let’s get out of here,” in another. And I saw one the other day where she just lined up the pack nicely for the camera before ripping one out and snapping in. Today, the squared off Twizzler tub was sitting on a Veterinarian’s desk. Excelsior!

Hangin’ it old school

A couple of months ago I had some trouble with the little flat screen that hangs in front of my elliptical when I exercise. I was thinking hard about buying a new TV and even started looking into TV mounts. See, the old TV was on this wood corner unit thing. The short term solution was to use a CRT 11″ I had in the kitchen, but then I got my old flat screen working and forgot all about buying new.

Then I realized that the old school flat screen actually has a built in stand AND the stand can be twisted to use as a wall mount. How cool is that? What was Philips thinking when they sold that thing? Didn’t they see the potential of selling separate televisions, stands, and wall mount units? Those wacky Dutch.

The night was…

The night was hot. The night was wet. Hot and wet. That’s humid. The night was humid.

Remember that movie? Oh man, I loved that little gem. The “what was that other movie she was in?” I got asked a dozen times by parents at a recent sleep over for 10 year olds where they screened The Goonies. Yeah, they were talking about the scary old Mom with the thick tongue and the terrible attitude.

Of course, you might ask what that has to do with cigars. Well, what the hell do you think?

Boss Levels

I was recently watching a documentary on Indie Video Game development. they covered 3 different games and their creators. It was entertaining and pretty well made, I thought. But it got me thinking about the upcoming holidays and my kids. Yes, we have a console and they have handheld devices. But as we approach the time for salivation over gifts, none have brought up video games.

Instead they are asking for clay and legos and in one case, Dr. Who paraphernalia. I can totally live with that.

Last year, the then-9 year old’s big gift was a trumpet. Replacing the school rental. Super awesome, right? How cool is it that while still in single digits, my kid went for an instrument over… anything else?

And next year it will be the same with my middle guy. He’ll be in the music program and we’ll be shopping for… who knows what? Pearl flutes? Student violins? Trombones?

Ah, the holidays. Marvelous and musical!

Snap! Water

It’s a rhyming thing, mostly driven by that last post and something I wanted to add. I mention that people have been giving me more and more grief over the years as bottled water became such an important thing to so many people – specifically about the fact that I prefer – or at least, have no problem with tap water. Clearly there is a reason that people are so against tap water. I think it’s pretty clear that the bottled beverage industry is telling us that our tap water is crap water. And that’s just not right.

In fact, about 12 years ago when I was working in advertising, I had a client that is one of the largest manufacturers of toothpaste, mouthwash, and related oral care products in the world. At that time they were sitting on multiple studies that showed tooth decay and oral health issues were on a steep rise in the US after decades of decline. The culprit named by all those studies?

Bottled water.

Yup. Most municipal water systems add, among other things, flouride into the water. Not in bottled water,  my friends. So… make sure you brush. A lot. And visit the dentist. A lot.