Ze Frank: That Makes Me Think Of…

Picture 1Some years ago a young man named Ze created a hilarious website with several mock demonstration videos  called “How to Dance Properly.” The story goes that it was meant as a novelty for friends who were attending a private party. But they sent it on to other friends and it — as we say these days — went viral. Ze went on to become an Internet phenom, and, in March 2006, he set up a challenge for himself to do a short video show a day. When I was living in Egypt, The Show with Ze Frank — a 3 to 5-minute piece that springboarded off the news and viewer comments — was my connection to American (and wired) culture. I watched it daily, and shared some episodes with my Egyptian journalism and film students. I loved his punny and sometimes naughty humor, sight gags and manic energy.

One of the great things about my job at TIME is that I have the access and the platform to invite diverse voices to present multimedia pieces for us. Just this week, my friend Brian — who, according to his website, is Earth’s Premier Science Comedian — did a great video (with another of my best friends, David Clair) about Galileo and the Year of Astronomy in 2009, 400 years after Galileo first turned his eyes to the heavens with his telecope.

So a while back, I reached out to Ze Frank to invite him to contribute. Yesterday he came through with an excellent video essay on the showdown in Iran, which features the best explanatory graphic describing the Iranian government system I’ve seen on any news site. I’m really hoping that Ze’s “That Makes Me Think Of…” will be an ongoing — and long-running — series on TIME.com

Have a look for yourself:

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My Secret Connection to “Land of the Lost”

The Will Ferrell version of the Sid and Marty Kroft-created Land of the Lost is taking a beating at the box office this weekend, unable to draw movie-goers away from the Bromance Hangover or the Pixar/Disney 3D animated Up.

landofthelostI doubt I’ll put down 10 bucks (or, more importantly, use up two hours of limited free time) to see the movie version of Land of the Lost. But I have great fondness for the original TV show. For two reasons.

First is nostalgia for the show. I spent many a Saturday morning with the Marshall family, whose rafting expedition went awry and sent them into an alternate universe with dinosaurs, small hairy hominids called Pakuni and the menacing sleestaks, who hissed as they walked toward you, their didactyl hands at waist level.

And, second, my connection to Land of the Lost is one degree of separation between myself and Sid and Marty Kroft. Some years ago, as a graduate student, I was a teaching assistant for Robert Foshko, a recently-retired professor of Television and Film at the University of Texas. He worked with the Kroft brothers and wrote the pilot episode of LOTL. I’m sure he’s glad he didn’t write the movie script, which TIME’s esteemed movie critic Richard Corliss noted got “near-libelous reviews.”

The Iconic Photo of D-Day

In a video I produced for TIME this week, Cynthia Young, a curator at the International Center of Photography, describes the 10 images taken by Robert Capa for LIFE magazine on D-Day, 65 years ago today. One is perhaps the most recognized image from that fateful day.

NOTE: An earlier upload of this piece had a corrupted timeline which inserted an errant photograph which was not an image made by Robert Capa. This version has been corrected to reflect the piece as it originally ran in 2009.