I think we all need at least one
really nice positive thing about the entertainment business every single
day of the year, including weekends. Sometimes it may be something
simple, like a video that showcases something fun and sometimes it may
be a movie poster that embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to
aspire to. Sometimes it may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll
be from the staff and extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you
readers can get in on it. So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will
get a little bit of positivity from one column a day here. Take it with
you. Maybe it’ll help you through a bad day or give folks some fun
things to hunt down in their busy celluloid digesting day.

David Oliver:  Author Page

What I’m Thankful For

Modern Marvels

The only “Reality TV” I watch is shows about real things.  And no show gives a better presentation about the widest range of shit than Modern Marvels.  If I were a history teacher, I would incorporate this show into a lesson plan, because it can take even the most mundane of subjects and make them interesting.  There’s nothing overly spectacular about the show.  It doesn’t use many gimmicks; there not even a flashy nor engaging host with whom to grab your attention.  There’s no relationship bullshit or staged drama so obvious as to be akin to a soap opera.  MM simply says, “here’s the subject, here’s its history.”  It might actually be pretty dry, if it weren’t so well done.

They’ve featured obvious wonders like the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, the St. Louis Arch and other landmarks.  There was a very good episode about the history of the SR-71 Blackbird that comes to mind.  Those are subjects that are made for programs such as this.  What makes the show distinctive though, is that they can give the same treatment to subjects that you might not immediately consider interesting.  I watched an episode not too long ago about dirt.  Dirt.  But it was interesting.

They have a recurring series of episodes titled “Engineering Disasters” that show some spectacular explosions and catastrophes like the Piper Alpha oil platform that exploded and burned in 1988, killing 59.  The series has also covered the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that ripped apart in high winds in 1940.  There was also the crane collapse during the construction of Miller Park in 1999 that killed three workers.  And its also given an in-depth analysis of what caused the World Trade Center to collapse.  That last one of course is sobering, but it does provide some nonetheless useful information.

Then you’ve got episodes like “World’s Sharpest” blades, “World’s Stongest” materials and “World’s Fastest” everything.  Interested in the Panama Canal?  They did it.  They did a fascinating episode on Nicola Tesla called “Mad Electricity that confirmed the fact raised in The Prestige: that Thomas Edison was an world class dick with an inferiority complex.  They also do a big series of episodes of various techs: bathroom, future, cowboy, green, da Vinci, snack food, ’70s, ’80s and on and on.  Dynamite, candy, the Mackinac Bridge, the Colosseum, lead, acids, ice breakers, the M-16, muscle cars, steam power, distilleries, the Sears Tower…it’s crazy the breadth of stuff they’ve covered.

There’s a list of the episodes here.  Check it out.  It’s some interesting stuff.