mono as in one or me. rail as in to vent or complain. thus monorail.


what i'm looking for

what i'm remembering
what i'm eating
who i'm looking like
what i'm coveting

what i'm reading
me vs mla's top 100

me vs afi's top 100

what i'm hearing

The Net
what you're wanting


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MONORAIL: BY SUBJECT [current]   [random]
MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 02.17.2017
an email i received from bella:
This girl is like a grown grace vanderwaal in a way (very very unique song writing style, they're funny and beautiful at the same time, she's also very quirky herself) check out these original songs by her:

Your favorite daughter,

and in case you missed the grace wanderwaal experience, here is where it began

VIDEO, HUMOR (permalink) 04.01.2016
good one.
i'm not much an april fool's guy but i can appreciate a clever and well executed prank. here is one of my recent favorites.

everything starts kinda fast but the the thing to know on this is that this college teacher has a class rule that if your phone rings in class you have to answer it on speaker. hijinks ensue.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 07.03.2015
new favorite
here's my new favorite all-time, acapella song.

when i first played it for bella, i blindfolded her and sat her in my office chair facing my stereo speakers and then blasted the song irresponsibly loud. something about that focused listening enriches the experience.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 06.12.2015
great, right down to the album title: Same Trailer Different Park
bella turned me onto this girl awhile back. at first i expected just another wispy dove-voiced girl who looked and moved right. but in each of the three videos my daughter sent me of the girl's work, i was repeatedly struck by her lyrics and storytelling. i'm not sure if she writes her own stuff or not but if so she's got a real talent for observation and bending it to fit her need. if it's someone else, she's got a good songwriter backing her up. i for one loved the days where songs more consistently made storytelling part of the craft (e.g. johnny b good, american pie).

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 04.24.2015
proof that the mind is infitintely trainable
i don't know if this leaves me motivated or dispirited. whatever the feeling is, i couldn't help but force myself to experience it multiple times. sheesh.

and in case you thought it was a fluke, there's more.

VIDEO, LIFE, SPORTS (permalink) 10.07.2014
love this guy!

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 07.18.2014
via bella

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 06.06.2014
so impossible seeming

VIDEO, SPORTS (permalink) 05.16.2014
bubble soccer

VIDEO (permalink) 05.09.2014
i'm wild jealous of this guy's abilities.

David A Smith - Sign Artist from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 04.18.2014

VIDEO (permalink) 03.28.2014
watch this. if you don't you might regret it.

VIDEO (permalink) 02.26.2014
bella meets youtube
a local community activist, after meeting bella, asked if she could interview bella for an awareness program they were working on. bella agreed and we just recently saw the resultant video.

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 01.31.2014
a ted talk with a surprise twist

VIDEO (permalink) 01.24.2014
unique storytelling

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 12.20.2013
with benefits akin to compound interest
i'm sure by now you've all seen this video, but still...

this strikes me beyond the well done sentimentality as it points to a gaping hole in my screen policing philosophy, a hole my children are just beginning to discern. the loophole is this: i will allow my children immense access to technology in the name of active creation. and i will restrict, with equal vigor, the time they use technology for numb consumption. as for my criteria of what is creation, they are broad. i'm indifferent if you're plotting out a website, writing a short story, shooting a video or even trying to make a wonky maze in minecraft—if that's the plan, plug in and hack away. conversely, if the agenda is to troll other people's websites, read the stories they crafted, watch their video-making achievements, or play a wonky maze someone else made, time is up, log off, go outside and get dirty.

bella is the first to begin to glean this paradox in her father because even while on restriction from screens, she's noticed any kid with a plan in hand gets greenlit to the machine of their choosing. before you start picking at my methonds, please know one needs more than a fanciful vision to get past the logon screen. outlines, sketches, mockups are the sorts of keys that can make the doors swing wide. lacking that level of planning, a child will be sent off to better collect their thoughts. if they can't get the plan on paper they either weren't serious or they weren't ready.

and if you gave me ten years, i don't think i could have transformed this belief with anywhere near the payload this apple ad achieves in a mere ninety seconds. fully ridiculous. holy smokes are their people good (ahem, creators).

as for me i think i've done about all the creating i've got in me for 2013 so i'll be stepping away to relax by the fire, smile at the dinner table, and tell animated stories with friends and family while lazing on comfy furniture next to lit trees. may your next weeks be rich with laughter, contentment and liesure while we all get a societal kitchen pass to spend time with our friends and families.

see you on january 6th.

p.s. speaking of creating, after entering this post into the database, i noticed that it is the 2,001st entry in the monorail blog. things, good and bad, do have a reliable way of accumalating on us. it's the quiet beauty of the slow drip.

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 12.06.2013
our last homage to photography, for now at least

VIDEO (permalink) 11.22.2013
bella wants to marry this guy. i'd like to steal his talent and iniative.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 11.15.2013
what i would put in a time capsule shot into space.

VIDEO, HUMOR (permalink) 10.25.2013
i do love me a good life story
the story i'm after starts at the 28:10 mark (which the video should start at or close to).

VIDEO (permalink) 09.19.2013
more evidence of how truly un-equal our thoughts and efforts can be

SOCIETY, VIDEO (permalink) 08.30.2013
this is an issue soundly in the "getting worse" column.
we live near a university campus and the students just returned for the new school year. since their arrival i've seen multiple astonishing demonstrations of obliviousness due to "living in their phone-itis". the most glaring case being a guy who walked into a busy intersection at a snail's pace. aside from the slow shuffle of his feet, all of his attention was spent trying to block the glare of the sun from his screen. meanwhile a long stack of cars waited for him to cross the street. i'd say he's mostly lucky the person behind the wheel of the lead car wasn't doing the same thing he was, otherwise all they would have found was a red smear and a shattered iphone.

between blocking traffic, having unusually loud one-sided conversations in public spaces, walking into people, sitting through green lights, slowing down order lines, derailing live conversations (the most unfortunate of the lot for me) and on and on, i think we need a new term to describe such indiscretions because the words we may have used in the past, like, say, "inconsiderate", no longer convey, fully, the numb egotism of this behavior.

VIDEO (permalink) 08.23.2013
this one left me saying 'wow!'
stick with it throughout. i imagine you'll be glad you did.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 08.16.2013
he took me gourmet, we hit that olive garden, my little ita-lay.
while we were away, musical group karmin took a giant step forward. in case you're not familiar with their story karmin is a musical duo that met in college at an arts school. she studied singing and he studied the trombone. after school they started writing original music and posting it to youtube hoping to get noticed. they gained, as you might expect, exactly no traction with the galactic population so they, in a thoughtful and well executed move, chose to sing covers of songs. the thoughtful part of the move was the female of the duo had a penchant for singing rap songs in the shower so the dude suggested they cover one of those songs she typically only crooned in private. the execution was the other brilliant and more pivotal cocktail ingredient and by nailing the production brought their initial acclaim as the 84 million views at the time of this writing will attest. i'm assuming we can all agree, had they botched this execution/production they might at this very moment be cutting hair, waiting tables and dreaming about how close they were to doing what they loved.

this newfound attention allowed them to return to making original music, something they've done with respectable success. over the summer though they took it to a whole new level with a song that like it or hate it, you'd have to admit is right in the wheelhouse of the general population's taste and consumption needs.

and, if you put them up against the business advice from last week, i think they'd score well. granted we don't know if they'd buy a horse from an amish guy or a hotel from a pakistani, but i'd wager they know themselves well enough to know either of those pursuits would be a rookie move.

exhibit 1 - break-out moment from their small apartment.

exhibit 2 - and after several years of stayin' after it.

exhibit 3 - and lastly, a demonstration that acoustic versions of anything are awesome AND that they are still the two people back in that apartment and can still do a good bit of damage with not much more than a keyboard (this time using an acoustic guitar and wooden box).

VIDEO, KIDS (permalink) 06.03.2013
life with anthony

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 05.22.2013
lots of dinner question fodder in there
i'm a bit of a commencement address junkie. i reckon i've admitted this before. last year my employer put forth one of the best of the year. remarkably, they've come through again with what i'd say, even though others aren't, is again one of this year's strongest offerings. and i'm told by someone on the stage during the talk, the man didn't have a single note or scrap to reference through his thirty plus minute address. remarkably good.

each year as i spin through the selections i'm struck by how good the good ones are (and surprised that the bad ones aren't better--c'mon people, if given the platform you gotta get your obsess on).

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 04.19.2013
last time i was in steamboat the music repeatedly playing in my earbuds was greatful dead's American Beauty. the final episode of freaks and geeks, which i watched shortly before my trip, made mention of this album as being one of the best ever (per the speaker's sense at least). this time while gliding down the same runs, katzenjammer's (a band i recently linked to) songs played on repeat all week. i came to learn of them through a colleague who sent me a link saying "these guys remind me of secret cajun band"--definitely not a sentiment one hears everyday nor one that would fail to garner my attention.

i've been in a state of mourning since the SCB crated their horns for the last time and i had essentially given up hope in finding someone with the a like stage presence and quirkiness. after giving the initial song a listen i had to concur, fully. not only was the sound reminiscent but the energy as well. intrigued, i continued listening and must say the catalog only improved the deeper i dove. rich and diverse stuff.

so i've prepared a modest katzenjammer concert for your end of week enjoyment. i think the below videos do a fair job at showing these young women's breadth of talent and range of personality. i'd recommend both of their albums (a kiss before you go & le pop) as plenty of head-bobbing and finger-drumming goodness exist in each. in no real order.

while there are better produced versions of this song (official video, studio version, solo version), i like the simplicity of this acoustic version which seems to have been done essentially in someone's driveway.

and anyone who knows me would know i'd be smitten with a song containing the following message for the lyrics alone.
everything you want, everything you do, everything and anything is up to you
every single day starts with a riddle, you can go left or right down the middle
so take a little trip down a road and see what you're gonna find who you want to be
but you might have to pick between these three

which one is it, it's your decision
and no matter what you choose, you're going to live it
shepard's song

i will dance

demon kitty rag

play my darling play

land of confusion

to the sea

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 03.29.2013
guess again pal.
for any who might have thought i was serious about wishing to be don johnson, worry not, i outgrew that desire in 1985. my more mature answer would be ben franklin (less 50 pounds) or the blonde trumpeter in the below video.

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 09.28.2012
good weekend lead-in
yesterday i mentioned eric thomas, a speaker i've been enjoying recently. he's the voice on the how bad do you want it videos i posted a few weeks back. here is another talk he did earlier this year for a company in vegas. it starts a little slow but after the ten minute mark, there's a lot of meat on the bone. great message(s) with a strong style.

LIFE, VIDEO (permalink) 09.06.2012
you're already in pain, you're already hurt.
here's my new favorite orator in a treatment that expertly mixes video and music with one of his better know presentations.

part 1

part 2

VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 05.04.2012
more support for the importance of failure
circumstance recently led me to j.k. rowlings 2008 commencement address at harvard. for me, her twenty minute speech surpassed the combined value of all her potter books. mostly because she's pro-failure, something i'm quite ravenous about as of late. my favorite line, of many:
some failure in life is inevitable. it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default.
next, we just need to figure out how to move this message down from post-college to pre-kindergarten.

also, as i had to remind bella as she shoulder-hacked me crafting this post, the real meat of failure is not in failing itself, but in the building of tools needed to climb out of life's many divots, holes, ditches, cliffs and canyons. so maybe perseverance is the better term. less ambiguous is the fact that the landscape is treacherous and circumstance requires us to travel large swaths of it in the dark.

VIDEO (permalink) 12.06.2011
two bits of very fine storytelling.
i'm really shocked i never heard of this guy before now. and i stumbled upon him, surpisingly, while listening to a rather blue comedy stream in itunes.

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 05.06.2011
i would have gravied my drawers
the email sending this link to me had the subject line "Japanese people are so mean to each other with their pranks!". it was not kidding. the friend who sent me this showed me another video from this show that was so cruel it couldn't even be deemed funny (it involved people getting shot). but this video had me laughing out loud and hopefully will do the same for you. great stuff.

i so miss the original candid camera.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 01.28.2011
with 108 million views, i doubt there is anyone left who hasn't seen it.
that said, i find this to be one of the most mesmerizing and impressive videos, ever. and not just for the obvious reasons. i won't bore you with my reasons, just know that i have reasons, again, beyond the obvious ones.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 01.21.2011
proof that every man has a sportin' chance

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 01.14.2011
in the event you haven't been one of the 2.6 million views

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 01.07.2011
a friday toe-tap

a great a cappella rendition of the king's rock with you

and the groovy original

and one of his most super, smooth bits of work back closer to his prime

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 10.01.2010
if songs were graded by their first lyric, this one would do well
my boss was harassing me about my inconsistent use of serial commas, sometimes referred to as oxford commas, to which a student in our suite, overhearing the jocular ribbing, quietly emailed me the following video which stands as one of the most entertaining music videos i recall seeing.

please note there are some naughty words in there so if you're easily put-off by such offenses, i'd suggest this old room-pleaser instead.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 09.17.2010
feel good friday
the one you may have heard

the spirited original

and in case that didn't put a grin on your face and some tap in your foot.

SOCIETY, TECHNOLOGY, VIDEO (permalink) 09.10.2010
zero to ravenous in fifteen seconds, flat.
a student of mine from last year forwarded me a link today. he said that after seeing this interview he felt it might be of interest to me and of possible use in future classes. i opened the link. this was the first thing i heard.
technology is like a mirror, if an idiot looks in you can't expect an apostle to look out.
after that line i paused the video, now fifteen seconds into a thirty one minute interview, readied a reply to my student and wrote, "that is possibly the single greatest line i've heard in regard to technology since i've begun working in technology."

i've never heard of stephen fry but after listening to thirty minutes of him free-styling here, i can assure you that three months from now i will be very familiar with his thoughts on technology and life's chase.

you can all thank luke, the most stylish student i've ever had the pleasure of working with for this juicy and marbled slab of greatness. and, send good thoughts and karma his way as he looks for a curious endeavor with a non-profit in the atlanta region.

STEPHEN FRY: WHAT I WISH I'D KNOWN WHEN I WAS 18 from Peter Samuelson on Vimeo.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 08.20.2010
get ready to tap a foot, drum a finger and hum a song all day.
in the crazed event you haven't been keeping up with pomplamoose, they have new stuff to enjoy (videos below).

and believe it or not i can appreciate more than the completely hypnotic nataly.

in fact, i use jack as an example in a class i teach of the good sorts of things that can happen when you live your life through your passions. he is every bit as inspirational to me as any high-brow, often touted personality.

TV, VIDEO (permalink) 08.13.2010
hey sonny crocket, where's tubbs?
marty and i finished watching lost last night. it only took us all summer to watch the final two seasons and we didn't finish a day to soon as the kids return to school on monday.

i was able to duck all the series-ending debriefs that happened when the show ended for real but i imagine there were plenty of groaning folks out there who were full of piss, vinegar and angst. i thought the series was exceptionally entertaining and other than when they started the time schism business looking a bit like the Lost version of new caprica, i'd say it is one of the higher caliber dramas ever produced for television. it earned, obviously, huge style points, was way big on creativity and mystery, and developed great, great characters and was just simply good, vibrant storytelling. but for all its mastery and reliability, the one area they proved most reliable and never wavered on was sawyer and his edgy nicknames. i can't recall how many of his quick quips earned a chortle from me but there were several.

and the intertubes, which is surely as reliable as an unsavory sawyer moniker, was good for an homage honoring sawyer's delivery and the writer's creativity.

VIDEO (permalink) 08.06.2010
i can promise you i was not doing this while at the beach.
from kottke:
Guillaume Nery is a world champion free diver; here he is "jumping" from the top of Dean's Blue Hole and falling towards the bottom. No tanks or anything. Insane. According to the info on YouTube, Nery's jump was filmed by free diver Julie Gautier, who was also holding her breath the whole time. Insaner!

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 07.30.2010
got nothin' on my manscape

COMEDY, VIDEO (permalink) 07.16.2010
one of my favorite ever stand up shows ever

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 07.09.2010
if this doesn't incent you to buy this book, i fear nothing will

VIDEO, HUMOR (permalink) 04.30.2010
truth in advertising

TV, VIDEO (permalink) 03.26.2010
some think he over-reacted. i think he acted remarkably gracefully, offense considered.

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 03.05.2010
your friday chuckle.

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 02.26.2010
in case you haven't laughed yet this week

VIDEO (permalink) 02.19.2010
playing unfair

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 02.12.2010
dil does what?
if you're like me (earlier in the week) and haven't yet heard of dimitri martin, you're about to enjoy, for the first time, the smart, comedic stylings of a very talented young man. if you're not like me and consider dimitri last year's news, settle down because there isn't a more re-consumable you tube clip than this large pad spot ... except maybe louis ck's bit on conan.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 02.05.2010
i got some serious, like, gansta skill, ya know, on the mark
what follows is an unusual type of content for this site but someone sent it to me and it stands as one of the most surreal and mesmerizing things i've seen in some time. if i had to liken it to something i would call it a mashup of the castle, an american movie, multiple david lynch films sprinkled with various other movie and music influences too numerous to name.

caution: there are some naughty words and stamping visuals so if such things vex you, may i suggest some old parker lewis clips instead.

and there's definitely more humor at their website including a more ambitiously produced ninja video.

MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 01.22.2010
in the event you haven't yet seen this
i'm mystified on multiple levels by this.

WEB, VIDEO (permalink) 12.16.2009
where do i send my resume?

VIDEO (permalink) 11.20.2009
recycle friday
two things that have come up in the last 24 hours that i thought were worth revisiting.

first someone asked me to find the link to this previously posted video from 2006 for them.

and this second one came up at a dinner party last night.
click for the extended story

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 03.05.2009
it's not possible for me to like this guy any more than i do right now

WEB, MUSIC, VIDEO (permalink) 10.08.2008
i'm handsome either way
here's something to appease/entertain you while i continue to recover from my everyman binge. in explanation, this is a re-version of this all-time great video (my opinion) that changes the lyrics to match what is actually happening in the video. super-neat.

and man do i wish i could draw like that.

VIDEO, SOCIETY (permalink) 08.08.2008
another reason i dislike hilton hotels is they have a lot of guys like this there.

and i really don't know or care if this is fake, i've seen behavior close enough to this to give voice to my point.

VIDEO, KIDS (permalink) 06.14.2007
matter of time

flash - med qualtity - 6.0mb
quicktime - med qualtity - 4.0mb
quicktime - low quality - 2.5mb

KIDS, VIDEO (permalink) 04.02.2007
dashed hopes

this is how i was brought out of my saturday night sleep, all four hours of it. usually i'd just push the child away but this day was special. friday marty had shown me a movie alex had checked out from the library; a 1998 training video about internet searching. he picked it because of the cover art. on the bottom of the cassette case was a computer monitor showing an archaic browser and above that was a broad expanse of open stars and space, hence, space video.

alex. i don't think that video is about space. it's about something else. something very dull and boring.


six minutes later i'm snuggled under a blanket with alex listening to a woman in a red leather jacket (which she was wearing indoors might i add) talk to a computer animated girl named cyber-jane. before the rise of the internet, the leather-jacket girl was surely manning a suburban mall cosmetics counter. as for cyber-jane, i'm afraid all her previous work was in animated porn.

about eleven minutes into the video, bella groggily entered the tv room and fell into an open spot on the futon by my feet. she took one look at the television and groaned, WHAT IS THIS? IT'S TERRIBLE. i telepathically said to her 'YEAH! NO SHIT! AT LEAST YOU WERE SPARED THE FIRST ELEVEN MINUTES.' when she didn't acknowledge my mental message, i verbally and politically said, 'not everyone likes all the shows you pick bella'.

spending my sunday morning on this cramped futon watching an instructional video on a pre-google internet made me think of the day before. driving the kids home from a country sleep-over with my parents i got stuck behind a car in the passing lane. after several minutes of telepathic messages to the car's driver, also unanswered, i noticed their vanity license plate read BALLRM. the realization of how screwed i was at that moment just about matched how i felt right now (alex has never stopped watching a show he has started). if i could have only had a transcript of our mind's glassy-eyed thoughts while we took in this experience. i think bella was architecting her retribution towards alex for squandering his morning show on such an obvious loser. i myself was woeful in how pathetic and unexciting these two women made the industry i am part of seem. and alex, well poor alex, he was just wondering where the hell all the stars and space got to.

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 01.31.2007
if i could do this, i'd never leave my kitchen table
if you found the videos from yesterday's post at all compelling, this one will topple you. one thing to know before watching ... the slow-mo deal about mid-way through is not the camera, it is the guy.

Reggie Watts: Out of Control
click to jump

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 01.30.2007
i could watch this guy all day long ... and sometimes do

click to jump

and if you liked that, here is another one by the same guy.

click to jump

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 12.07.2006
probably not safe for work

click to jump

VIDEO, MUSIC (permalink) 10.06.2006
the rave party in this only child's head
this video portrays how i think my life would have been different if i had a sibling ...

and could dance ...

and looked good in a red thong ...

VIDEO, TELEVISION, HUMOR (permalink) 01.10.2006
but i don't even own a cellphone

click to watch

more than one person has commented to me that they imagine this is how i am at work. it is clear to me that those people either ...
  1. work with me currently
  2. worked with me in the past
  3. have or had a hidden camera set up in my office.

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