After the few very indirect references to Virginia Slims cigarettes in the season finale of Mad Men, I was inspired to search for the now famous 1969 “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” TV commercial. After finding a number of Virginia Slims ads created for the Australian market in the late 60s on Archive.org, I came across this one:
This particular cigarette commercial, this petty bit of TV ephemera that playfully yet insidiously co-opts and trivializes the feminist movement, is actually quite special to me and my family. The angry man at the gazebo in the first vignette in the ad is my late father-in-law, Jeremiah Morris, who had a long career in theater and television as both an actor and a director until his death in 2005. A framed still from the commercial showing Jeremiah in a bowler hat scolding the young woman for smoking hung proudly in my in-laws’ house for years and the ad was stuff of Morris family legend though neither Jennie nor I had ever seen it until now. Family lore also had it that Jerry’s Virginia Slims ad was the very last cigarette commercial to air on network television, on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show at 11:59pm on January 1, 1971, according to TV Party. I have not yet been able to confirm this.
According to lots of sources, that last cigarette ad featured Hill Street Blues actress Veronica Hamel (crossword puzzle freaks will recognize that name from clues and answers) but the model in Jerry’s ad doesn’t really look like her. In fact, according to this site, it appears that the last cigarette ad to run was among those in the You’ve Come a Long Way Baby campaign, but not the one featuring Jerry.
After I tweeted the link to the ad, my DS106 compadre, the great Scott Lockman, who teaches new media and radio broadcasting courses in Tokyo, went to work creating an animated GIF from the ad. Scott’s GIF is wearable in Second Life as a broach — this means that, for a small fee in in-game currency, you can purchase the broach from Scott and adorn your avatar with this piece of animated jewelry. You can listen to Scott discussing and demonstrating the Jerry broach here.
Not to be outdone, I also created an animated GIF of the last bits of the gazebo sequence:
And now Jerry runs out from behind the gazebo, chasing that poor woman ad infinitum, endlessly calling our attention to the cultural artifact that this commercial is and mesmerizing us all the while.
All that said, I am struck by on the just how easy it was to find this ad that basically vanished into the ether after that last airing in 1971, a few months before I was born. And now here it is. You can even download it and remix it or make animated GIFs or broaches or whatever. As Jim noted in this tweet, Jerry, who died when Jonah was just a year and a half old, is that much more real and present for my kids — in a very real sense, I’ve interacted with his legacy in a way that was unimaginable just a few years ago.
I’m also fascinated by how a simple activity of deriving something simple like an animated GIF of a few frames from an artifact of cultural history as Scott and I did can be, potentially, an act of critical cultural preservation. In taking that bit of the ad and engaging it in a new way, I created an opportunity to reflect on its historical context and cultural significance, not to mention the sentimental value it holds for me. There’s great potential here for us digital pedagogues. Consider this as a possible assignment: take a bit of classic nostalgia or a video that is somehow culturally and historically significant, create an animated GIF from it and reflect on the relationship of the GIF to the original and on the process of creating the GIF, particularly on the choices you’ve made in making it.
There’s more to be said about this and I am looking forward to thinking it through.
After some discussion about whether a certain conference has “jumped the shark,” I was inspired to create an animated GIF of Fonzie’s legendary water skiing jump over an ostensibly man-eating shark in a 1977 episode of Happy Days, which, to some observers, signaled the beginning of the venerable sit-com’s steady decline and which inspired the very useful notion of “jumping the shark.” Here’s my first stab:
This is a big file, around 5MBs so not necessarily all that useful and it’s long. I felt the shark was essential and I didn’t really want to re-edit Happy Days so I included a fairly long portion of the jump sequence. In playing around with individual shots from the water skiing scene, I came up with this version where Fonzie skis and skis on forever, unconcerned with sharks or his show’s hearty embrace of the absurd and implausible, like the idea that someone “cool” would water-ski in a bomber jacket:
After I shared these on Twitter, the inimitable Scott Leslie, with whom I had the aforementioned discussion about that certain conference (which I’m not convicted has shark-jumped, fwiw), created two shorter versions from my original:
So there you have it: an iconic TV moment ad infinitum and some collaborative GIF-ing. DS106 4 life, bucko!
Michael Branson Smith added this to the mix: “Megaladon eats the idiom . . . never ‘jump the shark!’”
What part of the title did you not understand? Sushi on a conveyor belt at Kaiten East Sushi, 3rd Ave and 27th St., NYC. Got about a minute before my phone fell. The sushi goes around on a conveyor belt on different colored plates. Each color plate costs a certain amount (white, $1.50; pink, $1.75; green, $2.00, &c., &c.) Take what you want and stack the plates. At the end of the meal, the waitstaff tallies the different colored plates and calculates the bill. In Japan, this is called kuru kuru sushi. Pretty cool. And delicious.
Above is my first take on Alan Levine’s great “Make The Untranslatable Understood” DS106 assignment:
Use the Random Words with No English Translation tool (http://lab.cogdogblog.com/nowords/) to generate a word that could be better understood with a photo or image. Find a creative commons image or make your own, and include the word somehow in the image (using a desktop photo editor or web tool like Aviary or PicNIk). Then share it with someone and ask if it makes sense.
Indonesian in origin, “jayus” has made its way into Malaysian, Filipino, Tagalog and now English.
(Image credit: TimmyGUNZ. I originally wanted to use an image of the real Fozzie Bear but could not find a suitable CC licensed one.)
A few years ago, a friend gave Jonah what I think is the coolest toy ever: an Eyeclops Bionic Eye, which is a hand-held multi-zoom LED-lit microscope that plugs into any TV that has a composite video jack (the yellow one.) (Here’s a video demo of the model that we have.) I’ve always wanted to find a way to grab images from the Eyeclops and share them but that is impossible out-of-the-box without additional equipment though supposedly a later version adds this functionality. Now I am finally able to connect the Eyeclops to my computer as I picked up a USB video capture dongle (mine’s made by Roxio) that allows you to hook up your VCR or other analog video source to a computer and digitize video from VHS or Hi8 tapes (it should work for audio cassette tapes and vinyl records as well.) Using software called VideoGlide, I was able to take some snapshots and create the pictures below. The full version of VideoGlide costs $30 but the limited free demo of the tool allows you to use it for 10 minutes max at a time, which is plenty of time to produce some nifty images. I couldn’t find any truly free video digitizer software for the Mac but there seem to be a number of good options for PC users. Now that I can digitize its output, I’m really looking forward to revisiting the Eyeclops to see what kind of stuff the kids and I could do with it. There’s some potential here for ds106 too. Maybe we’ll produce the first ds106 microscopic digital story.
VideoGlide puts out images at 640×480. Click on the images below to see the full size version.
A little animated GIF fun with some footage of Jim Groom from the #ds106radio NYC jam this past Thursday night:
Here’s the original vid:
Here’s Luke Waltzer’s brilliant reflection on the DIY Radio session at Baruch the night before that provided the occasion to get together and play music loud. Really loud.
Oh and, this just in: audio archives and reflections by Giulia Forsythe. Rock!
I started messing around with web video in 2004, shortly after Jonah was born. For a while, I shot a bunch of short videos of him and posted them to this site. It was a way for me to document his babyhood and learn the ins and outs of web video. And it was fun. As often happens though, I slowed down. The last video I posted was this one in 2009. But I’ve held on to just about every second of footage I shot as well as the several video projects I started editing and never finished. So I think it’s high time to go back to the vaults and, at least, finish the 2 or 3 videos I started but left alone for whatever reason.
So here is one from circa Dec. 2004 when Jonah was just a few months old and when our uncle Ivan gave us a behind the scenes tour of the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, Brooklyn where he volunteers to this day. My father-in-law, Jeremiah, who was visiting us at the time, makes an appearance as well. It’s one of the few times I got Jerry on video before he passed away about a year after this was shot.
Last week I finally rescued this short film from outdated format oblivion thanks to my friend Alan Levine who helped me salvage the editing I did years ago and inspired me to stop obsessing over minutiae that no one but me would care about and finally finish the video. Back in 2004, Antonella, a friend and fellow former Brooklynite, encouraged me to publish this video and waited and waited but I didn’t feel that it was ready and we both eventually forgot about it. Now here it is, Anto. Enjoy.
This was a long time coming. Finally, here is a recording of a DS106 Radio broadcast from May (while I was visiting my parents in Southern California) which is now the stuff of legend. This was pure, unadulterated international free-form radio mayhem featuring me, my wife Jennie, my inimitable mother, Zack aka Noiseprofessor in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Olga Belikov and her mother in Vancouver, and Nigel Robertson in Hamilton, New Zealand. The conversation ranged from political scandal to spelunking to dirty words to sexy accents and all manner of unexpected madness, especially as the evening wore on. Zack called this convergence of disparate radio variables “DS106Radio Madlibs” and discusses the whole thing here. Olga describes this broadcast as “the best Internet experience ever”. It was a blast. Enjoy.
PST Radio Mayhem, Part 1
in which my mother, Jennie, and the Twitterverse discuss political scandal and other grave matters.
PST Radio Mayhem, Part 2
in which international, multi-lingual mayhem ensues.
[Image credit: Michael Branson Smith]
- DS106 GIF-Fest: 3D Printer Makes Evil Robot Santa
- DS106 GIF-Fest: Muppets
- You’ve Come a Long Way, Jerry
- Jumping the Shark
- The Journey of a Piece of Sushi a Conveyor Belt
- DIY Digital Microscopy
- Bava Rocks!
- Salvaged from thiseviloblivion: A Visit to the New York Aquarium, December 2004.
- Radio Mayhem: Of Caves, Political Scandal, Condoms, and Russian Pronounciation
- Stories From the Formerly Soviet, Vol. 2
- Eye, Razor
- Talons: A Case Study in DIY Educational Technology
- Webcasting My Family’s Story, or, My Life on #ds106radio
- Tutorial: Play System Audio in Skype Calls on Mac OSX
- Tutorial: Play System Audio in Skype Calls on Mac OSX (10)
- Manu: Hi guys It works for me BUT… i hear myself in my headset, and it’s driving me nuts. Do you have an...
- Dakota: I seem to be having a problem – I set the input as Soundflower (2ch) as my input, but on the bar, it...
- Simske: Very good Idea! But the second LineIn instance can be replace by Soundflowerbed, only choose in...
- DS106 GIF-Fest: 3D Printer Makes Evil Robot Santa (1)
- Ben: Evil Robot Santa! Quick, everyone grab your laser blasters, barricade the fireplace, and hope that you’ve...
- You’ve Come a Long Way, Jerry (5)
- Felice Seltzer: Thank you. I love it! I always thought there was never enough of Jerry in the ad. You were able to...
- scottlo: This is a great reflection. I had no idea there was such an interesting story in that cigarette ad. I love...
- Mikhail: Thanks, Alan. I love the way you frame it in terms of story. And don’t let the whirlwind blogging...
- Alan Levine: You are spot on in this reflection Mikhail, how a small act of abstracting video to a few frames then...
- Tutorial: Play System Audio in Skype Calls on Mac OSX (10)