Category Archives: people

Adam West Shook a Mean Cape!

You had to be there.

When Adam West played Batman on American TV back in 1966. “camp” was in. And West’s Batman was very campy indeed.

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As you can see from the pic above, West was not flashing a 6 pack., And the action scenes were more like this

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Unlike our more recent indulgences in comic book stories, this iteration did not take itself very seriously.

The great thing about Adam West is that he didn’t take himself too seriously either.  He knew that after Batman he was typecast for life, and he made the most of it.  Then …

It turn(ed) out that one of (his) ’60s Batman fans, Seth MacFarlane, got his own show on Fox called Family Guy and promptly made West the mayor of the show’s fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island. 

And Adam West took his camp seriousness to a whole new level as Mayor West. Check out the above link to see some video of West as Batman, Mayor West and in the Simsopns!

Thanks Adam!

Errr … one last thought. Watching Adam West boogaloo as Batman, I have to smile. It really was silly in the extreme. And that is what made it so popular back then. Things would get more serious just a few years later in 1968 when King and Kennedy were killed and Nixon elected.

Gambling and Life

Edward O., Thorp knows a lot about math. You would expect that from a math professor.

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You might not expect that he would use his knowledge of math to develop systems for gambling. He did that too and he became famous for it. His autobiography is “A Man for all Markets”, and Fred Wilson endorses that book.

The book is about using math to better understand and quantify the risks of taking various actions. That might sound boring. But consider this

  • For most of our history as a species, we have doggedly tried to reduce risk through the pursuit of certainty. Our fascination with religion is jus tone piece of evidence relating to this pursuit.
  • The infatuation with certainty as an ultimate value led to the 20th-century infatuation with ideology and science and quests for the ultimate meaning of everything.
  • We are just starting to realize that humans are not capable of producing certainty on demand. We have to accept uncertainty and risk as part of our systems.

In other words, looking at things from a meta perspective, we are likely to see more and more attention paid to managing risks as part of the value creation process. Less insistence on certainty. More awareness of risk linked to reward.

So are “salaries” a social good? A “tenured positions”? A “job”? All provide a modicum of security – certainty. But compared to what? If this interests you, you might do well by checking out Edward Thorp’s autobiography as part of your summer reading.

John Severson: The Surfer Artist Checks Out

To say that John Severson loved surfing would be like saying Jean Monet liked his garden.  Severson found any number of ways to enjoy the waves and to incorporate the waves into his life. Most famously, he founded Surfer Magazine back in 1962

“Before John Severson, there was no ‘surf media,’ no ‘surf industry’ and no ‘surf culture’ — at least not in the way we understand it today.”

Here he is

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And here he is

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Severson wasn’t motivated by money. He was motivated instead by the lifestyle that he could enjoy by staying connected to the waves.

He sold Surfer magazine in the early 1970s for an undisclosed amount, then returned to Hawaii to pursue his artwork, to ride big waves and to relax with his family.

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And that is pretty cool!

Roger Moore’s Way

Before I write anything more, I feel compelled to disclose that I did not enjoy Roger Moore as James Bond. It was not just him. His Bond films were too campy for my taste. And his Bond risked being an empty suit, rather than the action figure that Ian Flemming had created.

Having said that, I did enjoy Roger Moore as The Saint.

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This show aired on TV in the 1960’s and  Moore played Simon Templar, the main charming, and slightly roguish character

Simon Templar was essentially a Robin Hood who stole from criminals, but kept the money. His nemesis was Chief Inspector Claude Teal who considered Templar a common criminal no matter whom he stole from (shades of Les Miserables).

In this role, Moore’s polish and savior faire worked like a charm.  BTW, it was a parallel sort of charm that one experienced from David Niven as the Pink Panther.

Which brings me to the point. As Chris Taylor writes, we will not see another star like Roger Moore. At least not in the near future. His style was understated and clean cut. You would not expect to hear him utter a swear word. You would expect him to wake in time for breakfast and enter the dining room clean shaven.

Who does that anymore?

BTW, the man who authored The Saint series was himself quite a character. His name was Leslie Charteris. He was born in Singapore and had a Chinese father and English mother.

Once his first book, written during his first year at King’s College, Cambridge, was accepted, he left the university and embarked on a new career. Charteris was motivated by a desire to be unconventional and to become financially well off by doing what he liked to do. He continued to write English thriller stories, while he worked at various jobs from shipping out on a freighter to working as a barman in a country inn. He prospected for gold, dived for pearls, worked in a tin mine and on a rubber plantation, toured England with a carnival, and drove a bus. In 1926, he legally changed his last name to Charteris, after Colonel Francis Charteris[citation needed], although, in the BBC Radio 4 documentary Leslie Charteris – A Saintly Centennial, his daughter stated that he selected his surname from the telephone directory.

Hmmm … a free spirit!

 

That Mysterious Need to be Loved

I just watched a quick bio of Lord Nelson. He was such an extraordinary man. Not just because of his brilliance as a naval commander — the thing that most remember him for. As much it is because of why he took on the role that led him to that pose.

Nelson had an extraordinary need to be loved. By his mistress and by the British people. He would do anything to earn that love. And he did. Check out the video. It reveals the power of sustained emotion. That need to be loved. Enjoy!

Thinking about Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes was one of the most controversial figures of the late 20th century in the United States. He co-founded Fox News and was the force behind its meteoric rise to prominence. The man knew something that a lot of people did not. And he just passed on.

So what did he know? Ailes had an intuitive sense that TV was about connection, not explanation. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Ailes you get folks like Bill Moyers.  Whether you like or agree with Bill or not, you know that Bill is all about explaining stuff. He tries to get deeply into a story. Ailes had no interest in that. Instead of getting deepöly into a story, Ailes wanted to use stories to connect with a target group.To tell them what they wanted to hear.  Call it propaganda. Call it whatever you want. But under Ailes, Fox connected with specific target groups. and empowered those groups.

We are starting to catch up to what Roger was doing. We are starting to realize that connection matters. And we are starting to get better at it. But Roger beat a lot of us to the punch. And if you disagreed with his politics, that was very frustrating.