Whenever my dad wanted to speak metaphorically about Podunks—places that were remote and sparsely populated—he often cited Broken Elbow, Indiana, and Frozen Dog, Iowa.
I always assumed they were real places, and recently I dug around to find out how they got their colorful names. Internet research truly is the best!
Googling “Broken Elbow, Indiana” yielded a few promising results: a juicy lead about an Indiana Pacers player (Chris Copeland) who broke his elbow; an informational site for medical elbow and shoulder providers in Indianapolis; another site for orthopedic surgeons in northwest Indiana; and a news alert about an Oakland A’s player (from Indiana) who broke his elbow throwing a pitch this weekend.
My search for the origins of . . . CONTINUE READING: Pop’s Podunks
October 17, 1989, 5:09 pm
Section 51, Upper Deck
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
“It’s in the drink, man! The Bay Bridge has fallen down!”
Uh oh, it’s going to take a while to get home tonight. The man in front of me with the radio pressed to his ear continues to relay news to the fans around us. We’re here for the third game of the World Series. Five minutes ago, the earth shook, and the crowd cheered. Now we start to realize the magnitude of what’s happened. And where the heck is Darrell? . . . CONTINUE READING: Present at the Re-Creation: The Loma Prieta Earthquake
Today is the 100th birthday of my mom, Jeanette Tulman Zarchy, who passed away about two years ago. In her honor, I am republishing this eulogy I wrote for her memorial.
I want to tell you a little about our mom, whose life mirrored our nation’s history for the last century.
She was born Jeanette Dorothy Tulman on May 4, 1914. Think about that for a minute. She was born before the start of World War One, when Woodrow Wilson was president, the first of 17 presidents during her lifetime.
Jeanette was born at home at 107 Bristol Street, in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, a neighborhood of immigrants. Her family rented, then owned and lived in the three . . . CONTINUE READING: For Mom, A Century Later—We Miss Your Bright Eyes and Sweet Smile
Ten of us arrive, unannounced, at the restaurant on the terrace, hoping for an outside table.
The staff seats us quickly, then waters, breads, menus, wines, serves, desserts, and espressos us in style. The service is seamless, though during the meal I notice one of our waitresses hurrying by, looking harried. But we gab and laugh and catch up in the sun on the terrace, enjoying the company, the food, and the splendid New England day.
Eventually the waitress brings the check, with amends. “I’m so sorry about the delay. Thanks for your understanding.” . . . CONTINUE READING: Unpunished
The Facebook Page for Roving Camera: Bill Zarchy’s Blog passed 2500 Likes earlier today. It’s been my pleasure to write for you on a crazy array of subjects for more than two-and-a-half years, and I humbly appreciate your support, enthusiasm, and suggestions.
I’ll be publishing two books of my stories this summer and have more surprises in the works, so stay tuned! . . . CONTINUE READING: Roving Camera’s 2500th Facebook Like
Recently I was honored to give a TEDx Talk on creative problem-solving.
Using examples from three different film projects, I talked about thinking on your feet, adapting to change, and improvising solutions—valuable skills in any era, especially our digital age. It’s not just about mastering the gear, I tell my students. It’s about releasing your creativity. The ability to acquire and propagate images with ease doesn’t make you a Spielberg, any more than learning to write turns you into Shakespeare. But creativity, inquisitiveness, and collaboration will never go out of style.
TEDx programs are independently organized TED-like events.
“TED … has become in recent years a showroom for the style of the digital age,” writes Nathan Heller in The . . . CONTINUE READING: My TEDx Talk: Problem-Solving and Adaptation in a Digital World
My daddy was the strongest man in the world. My daddy was the smartest man in the world. My daddy could build or fix anything, and he was an expert on everything. That’s how I thought of him when I was growing up, and most of it turned out to be true.
My dad, Harry Zarchy, was a Renaissance man, a teacher in the New York City schools for 36 years, a skilled musician, a hobbyist and craftsman who excelled in fields as diverse as jewelry making, watch repair, clock making, furniture building, ham radio, photography, drawing, and countless others. And he was an author, the creator of over 30 books on crafts and hobbies and the outdoors for kids and teenagers, mostly with his own photographs and drawings. Between 1941 and 1973, in 32 years, he published 36 books. . . . CONTINUE READING: For Pop, A Century Later
In honor of the A’s and Giants both winning their divisions and making the baseball playoffs:
Here’s my dirty little secret: I am a bicoastal baseball fan. I root for both the Giants and the Athletics, who play on opposite coasts of San Francisco Bay. This duality is heresy for many baseball fans, who call me a “bad fan” and consider sports loyalty an absolute, one-sided affair, even in a two-team market.
But how glorious to have two clubs to follow! When one wallows in mediocrity, the other is often a contender. One of my teams plays at home every day. If the other is on the East Coast, their starting times are staggered, and I can listen to or watch two games a day – an embarrassment of riches, for sure.
. . . CONTINUE READING: Confessions of a Bicoastal Baseball Fan
To kick off the new year, I recently came upon this joke I wrote years ago, originally published in Boys’ Life Magazine in 1961. As payment, I received a Boy Scout Handbook, making this my first paid writing gig! It’s obvious to me that I was right to choose film and video as a career (and not joke writing!)
I chuckled when I came upon this sign recently in my travels.
As I thought it over later, however, I wondered if the sign was granting permission or issuing a warning. Guess I’ll never know for sure. . . . CONTINUE READING: Permission or Warning?
“Pinch me,” says Susan as we cross the Seine from the Left Bank to face the sun-drenched Gothic towers of Notre Dame. “I can’t believe we’re back here.”
We peel off jackets and join the throngs of tourists and worshippers outside the Cathedral. Despite the lyrics of the Cole Porter song – “I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles” – it’s only April, but the temperature this afternoon sizzles near 80.
We’ve visited Paris at earlier stages of our lives – nine years ago with our teenagers, when we witnessed a suicide at the Eiffel Tower and a young woman in some ecstatic trance dropping her dress at Chartres Cathedral; 25 years ago, during our disastrous Open Relationship period before we had children; and separately back in 1968, long before we met, when Susan spent a year in a study abroad program and I coincidentally buzzed through Paris on a speedy trek across Europe with my college roommates. . . . CONTINUE READING: Paris When It Sizzles
In a corner of my back yard, surrounded by drop cloths, my heavy pink rubber gloves caked in caustic, brownish gunk, I gingerly brushed paint remover on an old metal file cabinet, then scraped off layers of paint. From time to time, I cursed bitterly after inadvertently touching a bare elbow or exposed knee to the cabinet, wincing as the gelatinous, napalm-like paint remover instantly burned my flesh, and ran for the cooling relief of the garden hose.
Why was I stripping the paint from this old thing? I needed a four-drawer file cabinet. It wasn’t an antique or an interesting piece, and its quality level, even when new, was modest at best, but functional. And it came free. . . . CONTINUE READING: Monument