Saturday, October 17, 2009.  5:04 pm.  Twenty years ago today, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck northern California, changing lives and landscapes forever.  I share my memory of the moment the quake struck, and what happened a few minutes later that taught me a very important lesson -- being in the midst of history as it's happening isn't always an adventure.

The SFGate website, online home of the San Francisco Chronicle, has a special section devoted to those fifteen seconds that changed everything.
Direct download: 20yearsago_162_101709.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:04pm EST
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Episode #161 -- Scott O'Dell Thursday, October 15, 2009. Twenty years ago today, author Scott O'Dell died at the age of 91.  I talk about O'Dell, his most famous book, and how his writing (and that of my other favorite books as a kid) influenced my reading interests -- and, by extension, helped inspire this podcast.

Direct download: 20yearsago_161_101509.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:50pm EST
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Sunday, October 11, 2009.  "It Was 20 Years Ago Today" returns with a recollection of the story that Times Herald-Record columnist Mike Levine published twenty years ago today.  The story, and the problem it illuminates, could have easily been written today.

Mike Levine went on to become the executive editor of the Times Herald-Record before dying far too young in January 2007.  His family and colleagues established a journalism education scholarship in his name, and the first Mike Levine Workshop was held this past spring.
Direct download: 20yearsago_160_101109.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:41pm EST
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Episode #159 -- Batman Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Twenty years ago today, the movie Batman was released, bringing the famous comic book hero to a whole new generation of fans.  I talk about the movie and my own experiences and impressions of Batman, from the Superfriends to "The Killing Joke."

One of the earliest episodes of this show was about this same Batman movie, commemorating the date when the first draft script was written.  Fellow Bat-fanatics who haven't been following this show since day one might enjoy checking it out!


Direct download: 20yearsago_159_062309.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:36am EST
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Episode #158 -- Star Trek V Tuesday, June 9, 2009. Twenty years ago today, the movie Star Trek V: the Final Frontier was released.  I share a few facts about the fifth of the Trek movies, and relate my experience of watching it for the first (and almost last) time.  I don't remember seeing the poster design depicted here back in the day, but I couldn't resist showing it now, because my answer to the question it poses would most likely be, "To keep the audience from getting up and walking out."

I also refer to a version of the movie given the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" treatment.  This isn't the RiffTrax commentary, but rather a fan film with a Joel, robots and everything, including one unforgettable song, by Seattle filmmaker Ryan K. Johnson.  More information can be found on Ryan's website.


Direct download: 20yearsago_158_060909.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28am EST
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Thursday, June 4, 2009. Twenty years ago today, the Chinese government moved to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing's Tienanmen Square.  I talk about the crackdown on that day, and the efforts of the Chinese government to prevent its people from even knowing about what really happened in Tienanmen Square twenty years ago.


Direct download: 20yearsago_157_060409.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:27am EST
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Episode #156 -- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Tuesday, May 26, 2009.  "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" was released twenty years ago today. (Technically, it was released on the Wednesday before, May 24 -- my mistake!)  I talk about the third film in the "Indiana Jones" series, why I think it worked so well, and why the fourth film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls," which we'd waited almost twenty years to see, just didn't work.


Direct download: 20yearsago_156_052609.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:17am EST
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Episode #155 -- Gilda Radner Wednesday, May 20, 2009.  Gilda Radner died twenty years ago today.  I share a few memories of the actress and comedienne, who was one of the original (and still the best, to my mind) Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

I apologize for the less-than-stellar vocal quality of this episode.  I'm a bit under the weather, but I didn't want to miss out on this event.  To recall another of Gilda's famous phrases, it's always something, isn't it?


Direct download: 20yearsago_155_052009.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:06am EST
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009.  Twenty years ago today, the last graffiti-covered subway car on the New York City system was retired from service.  I talk about the efforts to clean up graffiti on the NYC subways in the late 1980s, and how that changed the image of the subways (and the city itself) for people like me who knew about "The Big Apple" from nothing but TV shows.

Direct download: 20yearsago_154_051209.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:13am EST
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Episode #153 -- Sergio Leone Thursday, April 30, 2009. Twenty years ago today, film director Sergio Leone died at the age of 60.  I talk about the achievements of the man who defined the "spaghetti Western," and how I first came to see his movies.


Direct download: 20yearsago_153_043009.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:41am EST
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