A Field Guide to Literary References in Monty Python's Flying Circus
While it's better known for dead parrots and crossdressing lumberjacks, Monty Python has a surprisingly academic background. Five of the six members of the group (Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese, and Eric Idle) attended either Oxford or Cambridge. Cutting their teeth writing for other BBC series, the five eventually joined up, along with American Terry Gilliam, to create Monty Python's Flying Circus. While experimenting with the bounds of sketch comedy, the group also flexed... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Tracy Morgan is our Andy Kaufman
People oftentimes assume Tracy Morgan is drunk or stoned to the bejesus. This is absurd to me, and cruel, too. In insinuating this, these people (let's call them "straw men") devalue a comedian who over the last several years--but particularly since he's literally (both on and off camera) morphed into his character Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock--has become something of a national treasure. Susan B. Anthony is a national treasure. Would you like to cast aspersions on her, too? Honestly. Think about it. Not... READ ON
Greg Veis: You Tube Hunter Explores...Humor
Listen, life is short and if you, like me, work next to a skyscraper being put up by drunkards it could be shorter. That's why we have to relish in a little light-hearted fun from time to time, eg. going to the beach or eating popcorn with our toes or seeing a Dave Barry column in your paper, refusing to read it, and then ritualistically burning it using your mother's nail polish remover as igniter fluid. There's really no limit to what we can do if we try, and this clip,... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Slam Dunks, Take 2!
It's Wednesday morning, two and a half days since I returned from NBA All Star Weekend in Vegas, and I've still got a plaster-cast smile on my face. This is attributable to many things: my miraculous blackjack comeback against a 70 year-old dealer named Dawn, who consistently referred to herself as The Velvet Assassin; the fine dining; the substance abuse; the fact that I saw Kevin Garnett rock some low-level breakdance moves at a club in the Venetian; the temperatures that tripled those on the east coast;... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Tyra Banks, Not Sane
One of the distinct  displeasures of full-time employment--and of not having TiVo--is the inability to watch daytime television. Remember the thrill of The Price is Right during a sick day home from school, or for that matter, Tic Tac Dough? There was a feeling of law-breaking, of daring, in watching those shows. You felt as if you were getting away with something, even if the 102-degree fever wasn't lightbulb-enhanced. Well, in the working world, or at least my working world, there are no sick days,... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Free Kobe!
Editor's Note: This YouTube Tuesday post was sent in shortly before game time, but due to computer problems, didn't make it up in time for tipoff. Kobe, in fact, did not play, and the Lakers lost 99-94 to one sorry sack franchise. It hurts. It hurts so bad. If this post changes just one person's life, though, it'll all have been worth it...  Don't try to talk to me about anything else right now, because you, friend, will be rebuffed. Two months back, I bought tickets to see the Lakers... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: From the Annals of Dumb Criminalia
Along with playing chess and watching my friends have sex, I derive endless enjoyment from Dumb Criminal videos. And based upon all the airtime these grainy surveillance tapes get, I'm guessing you do, too. So let's drop the ado... This one is the most famous of the stupid crook YouTubes. There are many different versions of this video including one that's more than borderline racist --but I like this one the best for its subtitles, which are undoubtedly accurate: And look at this guy who... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The Revolution will be YouTubed
Revolution isn't for the impatient. Of course, there are days that signify an irrevocable fissure in time—Crispus Attucks' getting shot, Johnson's signing the Civil Rights Act—when one era gives way to the next. But the real work of a revolution is prelude. It takes place in the innumerable tiny acts of defiance that occur in the months and years and decades before that day. And it is in this spirit that I bring you this week's column. No longer content to have my... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Give Me Some Indignity
Spend every waking moment flipping through YouTubes, like The Hunter does for you, and patterns start to emerge. Grand Unifying Themes. See, a YouTube might be produced in isolation, but when you post it in with a community of others, they link together, they help to take the cultural temperature, they tell us things about ourselves we might not have known otherwise.  More than anything so far, YouTubes impart this singular truth: we love us some indignity. Bloopers, flub-ups, gaffes, rakes in the... READ ON
YouTube Hunter: EPIC 2014 and the Future of Newsprint]
This month's Atlantic includes a fascinating article by Michael Hirschorn on what newspapers have to do to stay relevant in an increasingly diffuse, almost schizophrenic, media environment. We've got blogs and MySpace and YouTube and, shucks Jimmy!, however are newspaper supposed to stay afloat? Certainly, as everyone's been saying for some time now, the future doesn't look bright. Circulation figures are dwindling, younger generations haven¹t developed their parents' taste for broadsheet, blah blah... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: YouTube Turnip
Today's other mental_floss blog column, the delightful Tuesday Turnip, inspired this jet-lagged and sleep-deprived entry. You know the idea: type a word into a search engine and see what "turns up." Well, as you might expect, this leads to some rather strange results in YouTube Land. People be nuts, like Almond Joy. (That was my attempt to write a rapper-like simile. Day job: keeping it.) Anyway, as proof of people's being a wee bit touched, typing in "Harold and Kumar" yields 175 returns. Do we really... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: Are You Ready for Some Parkour?
My first thought, so stereotypically Jewish it's guilt-inducing, is a practical one: that cannot be good for the joints. The resulting arthritis is going to be monumental. And yet, what I'm watching is something I'd never imagined a human body to be capable of. It is exhilarating. It's the first long action sequence of the new Bond film, Casino Royale, and the burnt-faced bad guy is trying to escape 007 in a conveniently located construction site. He's climbing walls, jumping from metal beam to metal... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The Walken Chronicles
The YouTube Hunter is as pleased as any pampered coastal elite to see the Borat movie perform as well as it has. What the YouTube Hunter isn't so pleased about -- what's actually got him scarfing the Xanax again -- is the viral proliferation of Borat imitations across the country. I never thought I'd say this, much less for posterity, but all these hapless Borat imitators are making me wistful for all the hapless Christopher Walken imitators they seem to have replaced. With the exception of a very talented... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The Jobs/Gates War
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Oh, the outrage they incite. So much as mention the name Bill Gates around a Mac-olyte, and you're promised to get 10 minutes of intolerable screeching that will include the words "devil" and "nerdy little goober." Same vitriol goes the other way around, too, except substitute the references to: "pompous prick" and "substance-less prick." Me, I don't have a horse in the race. I prefer Macs and my iPod gives me the tinglies -- but Bill Gates certainly does some nice stuff for... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: 4 Crazy Japanese Game Shows
Like dogs and the novels of Sue Grafton, Japanese game shows are a hit in America. The way the contestants rub their butts against hot vehicular tailpipes, or how one guy agreed to be locked, naked, in an apartment for an indeterminate amount of time left only to subsist on prizes culled from magazine competitions... oh, it's all just so wacky! So, even though I'm more bored by these spectacles than I am schoolmarmish or unapologetically libertine (and after reading a handful of opinion pieces on the... READ ON
Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: 4 Moments in Human Awesomeness
Today, it's gloomy in New York. It's been like this for days now, some queer stretch of the August blues, and there's not much to say about it other than it's only slightly worse than the human clambake that typically occurs on the streets this time of year. Days like these, staring out the window into the gray menace, one feels an acute desire for transcendence, for a reminder of what man is capable of at his best, when he's not busy diddling his fiddle or drinking himself dumb. So I bring to you four... READ ON

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