New Podcast on 2015 Oscars: Our Experts on Birdman, NPH & Hanging Lightbulbs

Following a contest on MyMediaDiary.com, the top three winners guessing the 24 categories from the 2015 Academy Awards, Collin Ward, Melissa Balan and Steve Palizzi, were invited by hosts Kevin Walsh and Kale Davidoff to discuss the following: Best and Worst of the Show Bad Clips Shown for Good Actors Underwhelming Films New Categories such as:Neil Patrick Harris and the Hosting Curse–Too Naughty/Too Nice Best Picture–5 Years from Now Best Trailer Best Stuntwork Best Voice-Over Work Recommended Changes The Academy Voters Country Club/US Senate Snubs Joan Rivers Popularity of Hanging Lightbulbs Birdman and Hollywood’s Love Affair with Itself In the podcast, Melissa shared her project on the Mars mission.  Here’s the link!

Kicking Oscar Out of the Bingo Hall: Creating February Madness for the Academy Awards

I knew last night seemed familiar as the Academy Awards dripped by.  I was once again trapped in the living room of my grandmother’s 1974 Florida mobile home.  The room was stuffy; there was nowhere to go, even shuffleboard or laps on the awesome giant tricycles were forbidden to all under 65–and the pond had gators, reportedly. Last night I watched my 40th consecutive Oscars.  It began when I was in fifth grade with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sweeping the major awards.  With the advent of cable TV’s 400 more channels, Twitter-feeds and on-demand viewing a lot has changed.  Except for the Oscars. Stuck in Lawrence Welk-Land It still starts at 8:30 pm, still runs past midnight due to the the Death Valley of songs, oddball tributes and eternal commercials somewhere half-past “It’s-gotta-be-over-soon” o’clock.  There is still the same generally awkward monologue/opening number—with a brief 1990s hiatus of Billy Crystal between rotating comedians who all get trashed the next day.  Every year there are minor tweaks—for example, last… Read More…

Pick the Oscar Winners and Become the Next MMD Podcaster!

Predict how tonight’s ceremonies will go! Will it be a laugh-riot or a slow-motion train wreck? At least this year, there’s less certainty of the 1-2 front-runners.  But with John Travolta’s famous mispronunciation last year along with Kim Novak’s awkward moment, there’s always more to watch than the happy and pretending-to-be-happy faces of the nominees. The winner (or winners) will be invited to join us on our post-op podcast this week! Loading…   For some other Oscar-related posts… Kale Davidoff’s review of Whiplash Our 2014 Post-Oscar Podcast–covering the highs, lows and bizarres Steve Palizzi’s fun 2014 Oscar-picks Robert Phillips examines Seth MacFarlane’s 2013 (and only) Oscar hosting gig Kevin Walsh’s Voyeuristic Oscar favorites

Which America is Yours? A Proposed Four-Party Hogwarts Government

Maybe Washington could do with a leach or two… If you were sick in ancient Greece your body’s chemicals were simply off-kilter–a bad mix of the four humours:  blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile… There are four seasons (for now), four legs on a chair and four balls for a free base–but only two parties running the country.  Have you had much luck on a two-legged stool lately? Wouldn’t it be great if, like mood rings, we could glance at someone’s wardrobe and know who we’re about to ask to babysit your kid?  The Scots had it right–you could spot an enemy clansman running up the heath by the pattern of his kilt.  Even in the Harry Potter series, my own kids walked around the house with Griffindor’s gold-and-red scarves.  Now if our congress were forced to wear such identifiers from their lobbyists, it might be easier come election day. Men from Mars, Women from Venus, Dogs… Read More…

What Do They Know? Bandwagon Fandom and Arm Chair Coaching – Super Bowl 49

I watched this year’s NFC Championship Game with my brother and even with my new-found appreciation for Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers, I stood tall rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. My brother was rooting for the Packers and Oliva Munn’s boyfriend. The Packers took a 16-7 lead into the fourth quarter of a game where the Seahawks, uncharacteristically, had more turnovers than your neighborhood bakery shop. Regardless, I told my brother—with Richard Sherman-esque confidence—that the Seahawks were going to win the game. And when a perfectly gift-wrapped pigskin express package landed into Jermaine Kearse’s mitts to seal an overtime win, I looked at my brother and said the phrase that every younger brother lives for: “Toldja so.” JOINING THE BANDWAGON I don’t think I’ve held such care for an NFL team not called the Lions as I have for the Seahawks, and I can’t shy away from my ever-growing… Read More…

Turnaround Pistons Team Looks to Stay the Course on Heels of Leader’s Injury

Achilles was the grandest warrior of the Trojan war. With godlike looks to match his skills on the battlefield, Achilles lead Agamemnon’s forces to legendary status. Achilles was a man to emulate and any athlete would be floored to be compared to—if not for the frailness in which his rival Paris disposed of him. It’s why on Saturday night when I received a text from my brother that said, simply, “Jennings f#$@ed,” my heart sank. I wasn’t watching the game. I was at a bar and it was loud and there were too many people there and I couldn’t see the TV screens, but eventually I saw the replay of Brandon Jennings falling back on his heel and my deepest fears aligned with that of Homer and The Muses when Paris’ arrow penetrated Achilles’ foretold only weakness. Then I took to Twitter— Out for the season; a season that began as the… Read More…

New (and Old) Frontiers: Above Detroit with Aerial Photographer Alex MacLean

Alex MacLean has seen Detroit from the sky at various stages since 1980.  The large green-spaces below, for example, were once crowded neighborhoods and business districts in a city’s footprint that is large enough to fit Houston, Boston and Manhattan.  These grassy fields seen from Google Maps might be mistaken for parks. Similar green spaces a few miles north of town generally have bunkers and greens fees. A trained architect, pilot, author and photographer, MacLean lives in Massachusetts but has seen Detroit from above as Ronald Reagan received the Republican presidential nomination, for the 1998 demolition of the landmark Hudson Building and last autumn at  a request from the New York Times.  Each visit is like dropping into a different chapter of the city’s history–urban farms were previously dangerous abandoned homes and lots. From the sky, many travelers have to change planes in the hub of Detroit Metro.  As they glance out the window and see the river and the skyline, are they like… Read More…

Assassins & Teamwork: Filmmaking (and Break-Making) for Cooper Brothers’ Film “Five Windows”

Sometimes, feeling useless can feel quite nice–particularly on a movie set.  Hurry-up-and-wait sums it up, of course.  But if you’re just lurking like I tend to do, watching former students do their thing, you can be quite invisible and love every minute of it. As an extra in Gran Torino, on the other hand, I felt useless even though I did have a job to do.  I was told to walk down the street toward the Grosse Pointe hardware store and act like that wasn’t Clint Eastwood in front of me.  It took me five times, but I did it.  And when the camera stopped rolling, I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t a person, really–I was a prop, a prop that could be replaced much easier than the rake in the window I was instructed to examine, pretending that wasn’t Clint Eastwood in front of me. In the clip below, I’m the blurry guy on the right walking my usual odd… Read More…

New Podcast: OSU’s Urban-Renewal, Harbaugh & the Tigers (with MMD Writers Kale Davidoff & Steve Mitzel)

On the two-year anniversary of MyMediaDiary.com, featured writers Kale Davidoff (a MSU Spartan) and Steve Mitzel (a UofM Wolverine) cover the following sports topics with host Kevin Walsh: Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes national title The new NCAA playoff system Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in Ann Arbor–and likelihood to stay? The Big Ten’s return to power Is the SEC hurt by the new system? Different venues, different fans Being a stranger in a hostile stadium The Tigers and Justin Verlander (and will they ever win the Series) Read Kale’s posts on MMD Read Steve’s posts on MMD

The Consolidated States of America

This past summer the kids and I took our annual trip to the beach in North Carolina from Connecticut.  We decided to play the old license plate game along the way.  Of course, the kids added a new media twist to it using an app.  As we ventured down the east coast and tracked our states we started to question why there were so many states.  Why was Rhode Island an actual state?  No offense the Dakotas, you are awfully small. 3 teenagers and a preteen quickly reeducated me in the history of the United States, the colonies and how we came to be.  The capitalist and cost optimizer in me then challenged them with new thinking.  What if you had to start over today in 2014?  Would you have this many states and if so, why, and if not, what would you do.  As we checked the list of… Read More…

New Podcast: Digging Detroit – Dodge, Detroit & Women in Industry

Digging Detroit’s Tom Reed and Pete Kalinski discuss the early days of Detroit’s automotive history with historians Bailey Sisoy Isgro and Madelyn Rzadkowolski. Topics include: Advertising’s current portrayal of the Dodge Brothers Dodge’s famous dependability—and fix-it-yourself car kits General Patton and the Dodge military contract Women and Detroit’s cigar industry as a vehicle for entry into the workforce (and why Detroit was a cigar center) Using campaigns of conscience to get women into the workforce during WWI Detroit’s African American 600% population boom between 1910-1920 Detroit as the “Paris of the Midwest” More campaigns of conscience to force women out of the workplace after WWII Dodge’s role in the arsenal of democracy Fear of women earning too much–and gaining political clout) Promoting the myth of the non-communist “nuclear family” in the nuclear age For more information on the Dodge Brothers go to MeadowbrookHall.org. For more information on Bailey’s Detroit History Tours  go to… Read More…

New Podcast: Detroit From Above – Alex S. MacLean’s Aerial Photography of Detroit

  Following the December 7, 2014 publication of his New York Times Sunday Review, “Detroit By Air” which examines the city’s dramatic haves and have-nots, photographer Alex MacLean is interviewed by Kevin Walsh and Thomas J. Reed, Jr. of the new website, DiggingDetroit.com. Topics include… Alex’s background, including his fear of flying leading to his pilot’s license Detroit’s past, present and future Regrowing urban communities Alex’s transition from aerial surveyor to gallery artist His favorite audiences Switching to digital, but still loving prints—and those amazing drones!   More information on Alex can be found at his website:  http://alexmaclean.com

My Trip to Green Bay: Experiencing America’s Most Primal Football Fan-Base and How it Made Me a Bigger Lions Fan

Stadium Strangers It was 2008. We decided to take a family vacation to New York at the end of July. By we, I mean: my mother and my father wanted to take a trip to New York and my brother—Chicago’s newest citizen and most eligible bachelor—and I—readying my venture of four years in East Lansing—agreed to go on one more family trip before I officially became a co-ed. Part of the lure, though, was the opportunity to see one of America’s most treasured landmarks: Yankee Stadium; which was especially important, since Yankee Stadium was about to see its final turnstiles turned that fall. The Davidoffs have, are, and will always be a baseball family at heart (much like Detroit is a baseball city at heart). There’s been something special ingrained in our pop culture souls that guides us to the baseball diamonds every summer. And in baseball, perhaps more than other sports,… Read More…

“God, I Love My Job!” Welcoming Mistakes and Exploding Stuff – The Life of Sound FX Guru–Ric Viers

Listen to Kevin’s podcast with Ric Viers…   Perhaps it’s osmosis, but Ric Viers has noticed that his son seems to have his dad’s ear.  In the middle of The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies, there is a Foley mistake–a sword that didn’t clash to the ground.  “And I saw it and I just kind of smiled, but before I could even say anything, my kid leans over and says, ‘Dad, they forgot one of the sound effects.’” After years of on-the-job training, sound effects expert Viers has learned valuable lessons for not just audio but life, not the least includes keeping ones car keys in the refrigerator. Owner of the world’s largest collection of sound-effects, The Detroit Chop Shop, Ric Viers was a guest speaker in November for Detroit area student filmmakers.  The author of the best-selling books The Sound Effects Bible (2008) and The Location Sound Bible (2012), he shared his war-stories and provided tips included in his easy-to-read and… Read More…

New Podcast – Life Lessons & Sound FX with Ric Viers

    Veteran film and TV sound expert Ric Viers, author of The Sound Effects Bible and The Location Sound Bible, joins Kevin Walsh following a workshop Ric gave to Michigan high school students on his 10 Location Sound Commandments, which offer important life-skills as well. They discuss: Soft Skills and Reputation-how the most skilled person on the set may not be the one who stays on the set. How Does One Begin as a Sound Guy? Fatherhood and the osmosis of sound-awareness Gathering sound-effects (and where to leave your keys) Publishing a book (after finding a niche) The “Oh Crap” Kit Check out Ric’s page on Amazon as well as his own website, www.RicViers.com

An Apology to My Daughters, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan Among Others…

As I was reading a magazine today I turned the page to an article about Congress’s First Black Female Republican and I sat there stunned for a few moments. How could this be? I was honestly struck dumb with the realization that this was a milestone that was just NOW happening in the year 2014? Hadn’t it happened sooner? I had assumed that we had all sorts of women of every color and race populating the corridors in Washington DC. I was truly stunned that this was an event to celebrate in the year 2014. Where have the last 30 years gone? I was raised with the idea that I as a woman could do anything. I sat down in front of the TV back in the 70’s when Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King battled it out on the tennis courts. I celebrated when Billy Jean smashed the ball… Read More…

Love, New America Style with “Liberty’s Secret” – The 100% All-American Musical

  Liberty’s Secret: The 100% All-American Musical is a movie that brings to mind all the memories from my childhood that made my middle of the road, Midwestern upbringing so rich with its dependable sameness over the years.   Memories of good ol’ fashioned bake sales, the smell of freshly bought apple pie, sounds of Lawrence Welk’s Orchestra in the evening on TV and baseball Sundays filled with the voice of Ernie Harwell keeping a steady drone in the average and typical sun-filled family room that made my childhood so special.   Liberty’s Secret is a special movie. At first glance it’s a movie about family, community, patriotism and two people who find love in small town America. It’s also a movie with layers of nuanced sarcasm about the existing political world and all the familiar, stereotypical circus acts that combine to create a political campaign that will be bought,… Read More…

“Whiplash”: Truly One of the Greats

I’ll start this review how I start every review, which is: go see Whiplash before you read this post. But this time I say this not only because there be spoilers below, but because it’s one of the best damn movies I’ve seen in long, long time. A long time. As I begin my thoughts on Whiplash, I am reminded of the Honest Trailers trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you’re unfamiliar, Honest Trailers is a fantastic YouTube channel that takes films we love and makes trailers for them that rip them to shreds; pointing out every plot hole and confusing character motivation they can find. Here was the trailer they made to rip Cap 2 to shreds: [youtube http://youtu.be/JvHyk2ESFCI?t=1m29s]   Honest Trailers wanted to rip Cap 2 a new one, but, if they had to be honest, they were finding it difficult because, damn it, it was truly a good flick. Like… Read More…

House-Breaking Your Phone–and Lowering Your Blood Pressure

I was too calm at work.  Something had to be wrong.  Then I realized that I had left my phone at home—on the kitchen counter–probably under the bread wrapper.  It was the same unnerving peace I felt on a vacation last summer–when we left the dog with friends. Smudge is a hybrid, a schnorkie-poo, who, in the thankful absence of rats, is obsessed with one thing—the perfect blend of dye, felt and rubber toxins that is the tennis ball.  He is so completely focused on bringing you that ball for you to obediently throw it across the yard/basement/bathroom that he’ll forgo food, rest and common sense—crashing into fences, couches and unsuspecting two year-olds.  If you don’t follow his escalating sequence of hints (sitting patiently, rolling the ball closer, grumbling, grumbling louder), he’ll finally bark at the perfect frequency to shatter even our cheap wine glasses. When we’re having dinner, he’ll politely wedge the ball under my left buttock, sit… Read More…

New Podcast: De-Agonizing the Essay with Erik Bean, Ed.D.

  Kevin Walsh interviews author and educator Dr. Erik Bean on his most recent books, including: – Rigorous Grading Using Microsoft Word AutoCorrect – WordPress for Student Writing Projects, Grades 6-12 They discuss… – Overcoming student and teacher fatigue essay-fatigue with the technology – Student and teacher reactions to new tricks for the old dog of MS Word – Advantages of blogging for students (and overcoming stage fright) – Trolling (and how to address them) – Getting published–five times!